Establishing Your Business in a Small Town

Small business is booming in Baltimore, but the high cost of city real estate may be a barrier for some entrepreneurs. Smaller cities and towns hold appeal for business owners who want a brick-and-mortar location that won’t break the bank.

Outside of Baltimore, Maryland residents live only in small cities and towns – from tiny Port Tobacco (population: 13), to Frederick (population: about 65,000), so there are plenty of places throughout the state to establish your business.

Appealing Factors for Small Businesses

In April 2017, WalletHub published its list of the best and worst small cities for starting a business. It analyzed 1,261 small cities with a population of 25,000 to 100,000, and ranked them according to these factors:

  • Business environment (which included metrics such as average revenue per business and industry variety)
  • Access to resources (such as the availability of financing and qualified workers)
  • Business costs (including office space affordability and cost of living).

Salisbury, MD, ranked third among small cities with the cheapest office space. It tied two other cities (in Louisiana and Illinois) for first place on the list of cities with the highest average growth in the number of small businesses.

Business-friendly Cities in Maryland

Aspiring entrepreneurs may want to consider establishing their business in one of the five Maryland cities with the lowest cost of living. According to Livability, a company that researches cities and towns across the United States, those cities are:

  1. Annapolis
  1. Gaithersburg
  1. Hagerstown
  1. Greenbelt
  1. Frederick

Frederick is known for welcoming and supporting small businesses. Last year, during Business Appreciation Week, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) visited 105 local businesses to conduct a short survey. The OED found:

  • 99 percent of survey respondents said they liked doing business in Frederick County
  • 54 percent said they planned to expand their business in the next three years
  • 76 percent said they had a more profitable 2016 than 2015
  • 85 percent expected profits to increase in 2017.

Walkscore calls downtown Frederick “a walker’s paradise,” assigning the area a walk score of 91, on a scale of 1 to 100. Visitors and residents alike enjoy spending time downtown, whether visiting the Carroll Creek Promenade or dining at one of the restaurants on North Market Street. And the foot traffic downtown is great for small businesses – that’s one of the reasons Lusk Law, LLC, decided to open an office on East Church Street.

Points to Consider

You’ve heard the saying, “Location is everything.” But it’s just one of many factors that affect small businesses. At startup, and along the way, having sound advice can help business owners grow their enterprise and protect it from legal threats.

Lusk Law, LLC., has represented small business owners in Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and throughout Maryland. With over a decade of experience in representing entrepreneurs, and as small-business owners ourselves, we understand the challenges small businesses may face. Please call us at 443-535-9715 or fill out our contact form if have any questions about this topic.

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