Wisconsin gets a C for overall business conditions

“Small businesses are highly taxed, as are most businesses. This results in other businesses with which I might work not spending the money. Thus, most of the business I do is out of state.”
– Marketing consultant, Milwaukee

Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, has released new data showing that Wisconsin small businesses gave the state generally low marks for the friendliness of its regulatory regimes.

The Thumbtack.com Small Business Survey queried 6,000 small business owners nationwide over a two-month period. While the state’s rankings were generally around the national average, Wisconsin was still one of the better-performing states in the Midwest, according to said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com.

“Through improving a few low ranking areas – such as the state’s labor regulations and training programs – Wisconsin can position itself to become more welcoming towards small businesses,” Daniels stated.

Some of the key findings for Wisconsin include:

  • Wisconsin fared worst in its regulatory rankings, earning only a C- for the friendliness of its regulations – and a D for its ranking as #8 in least friendly health and safety regulations nationwide.
  • Surprisingly, women-owned small businesses in Wisconsin felt more comfortable economically than did their male counterparts. Female entrepreneurs were 50% more likely than male entrepreneurs to rate their company’s current financial situation as “good” or “very good.”
  • Despite struggling in some areas, the state excelled in one very important category. Of all states in the Midwest, Wisconsin was ranked as having the fourth-healthiest small businesses.
  • South Central Wisconsin is the state’s stand-out region, receiving #1 rankings for 5 of the categories.
  • Small businesses run by conservatives seem to be doing better than small businesses run by liberals. Conservative entrepreneurs in Wisconsin were 22% more likely than the state’s liberal entrepreneurs to rate their business’s financial situation as “good” or “very good.”

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing Wisconsin’s key demographics against those of other states. One sample of respondents’ comments is as follows:
“With the economy as it is, I have found that the local governments in my state are very willing to help. A case in point is: I was recently remodeling a foreclosed home that had been vacant for some time. When the local inspector came to view the property, he went out of his way to make sure my permits were issued quickly. He and his department were very glad to see the property being brought up to code.”

The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states towards small business and about small business finances, such as:

  • “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
  • “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business in your state?” and
  • “How would you rate your company’s financial situation today?”

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