The Best States for Business

When you’re looking to break into a new industry or open a new business, there is a lot to consider. You have to ensure that your business plan, from top to bottom, is nearly flawless. You have to ensure the industry that you’re entering is ripe for new business and that your product or service will fill a gap and make positive change. You have to make sure that your business and the people who will be working within it have everything figured out to make your business dreams into a reality.

A perhaps vastly under noted piece of building your own business isn’t even a piece of the business itself–where you wind up starting. And while the location within a city is crucially important (you wouldn’t, for instance, build a retirement home next to an existing retirement home that is in a part of a city that is notoriously young), the city in which you’re operating is also hugely important. I’ve written in the past about why location can be everything (and simultaneously not everything) in a business, but I haven’t touched just yet on what larger-scope issues arise when business planning. There are good states for business, and there are bad states for business. It’s important to know which is which.

Every year, Forbes Magazine releases its list of the best states for business, factoring in a number of criteria including cost, labor supply, environmental factors and quality of life, among others. Here are some of the best and worst, according to Forbes.

The Best

  1. Colorado

Business Cost: 40

Labor Supply: 1

Regulatory Environment: 9

Economic Climate Rank: 2

Growth Prospects: 3

Quality of Life: 18

Colorado is home to 10 of 2016’s Fortune 500 companies including Dish Network, Western Union and DaVita Healthcare.


  1. Texas

Business Cost: 4

Labor Supply: 8

Regulatory Environment: 25

Economic Climate Rank: 1

Growth Prospects: 8

Quality of Life: 32

Texas finished first in overall economic climate ranking, more than making up for its below-average quality of life rank.


  1. Nebraska

Business Cost: 9

Labor Supply: 20

Regulatory Environment: 1

Economic Climate Rank: 14

Growth Prospects: 26

Quality of Life: 7

Two of healthcare companies in Nebraska–Atlas MedStaff and Prime Time Healthcare–both rank in the top 60 in the Inc 5000 list.

  1. North Carolina

Business Cost: 2

Labor Supply: 12

Regulatory Environment: 7

Economic Climate Rank: 22

Growth Prospects: 9

Quality of Life: 13

North Carolina plays home to some of the country’s biggest businesses including Lowe’s, BB&T and Bank of America.


  1.  Utah

Business Cost: 11

Labor Supply: 5

Regulatory Environment: 2

Economic Climate Rank: 9

Growth Prospects: 2

Quality of Life: 21

With two top-two finishes and four top-10, Utah is the undisputed best state in America for businesses according to Forbes.


The Worst


  1. Mississippi

Business Cost: 21

Labor Supply: 49

Regulatory Environment: 30

Economic Climate Rank: 48

Growth Prospects: 49

Quality of Life: 47


  1. Maine

Business Cost: 42

Labor Supply: 36

Regulatory Environment: 47

Economic Climate Rank: 46

Growth Prospects: 48

Quality of Life: 15


  1. West Virginia

Business Cost: 14

Labor Supply: 50

Regulatory Environment: 50

Economic Climate Rank: 47

Growth Prospects: 50

Quality of Life: 42