If you’re looking to start a small business this year, then Holland, Mich., should be on top of your list. A study conducted by Wallethub analyzed over 1200 cities and concluded with Holland as the number one city in the U.S. for small businesses. The study determined a city’s ranking based on several factors including cost to run a business there, access to resources and overall business environment. Holland topped the charts in all major categories.
Despite a population of just over 33,000, Holland has proven to be one of the best cities for small businesses to thrive in. And being a small city, Holland can offer many perks and advantages for new business owners willing to give it a try.
Low Cost Of Housing
Opening a small business in the city will often mean you’ll be living nearby. And one of the advantages of Holland offers is its affordable cost of housing. You’ll be able to live and work in the city without paying city-prices. The average two-bedroom apartment will only set you back about $840 per month. Compared to the national average of $1148 per month for two-bedroom apartments, that’s a considerable saving. Interested in purchasing instead of renting? The median cost to buy a home in Holland is about $194,300, which is more affordable compared to the $219,700 national average.
In addition to the cost of housing being lower than the national average, the cost of your groceries, utilities, and entertainment will be less than most other cities. In almost every aspect of living, Holland tends to score below the national average according to data provided by Best Places.
It’s The 2nd Happiest City
The city was rated 2nd happiest place to live in the U.S. by the Gallup Poll. Located next to Lake Michigan, the miles of scenic freshwater beach is ideal for morning jogs and outdoor activities. There’s also over 1000 acres of open green space dedicated to outdoor activities. Whether it’s skiing, mountain biking or camping, you’re likely to find it here.
The city also has a vibrant arts and culture scene. It’s annual Tulip Time Festival attracts millions of visitors all over the world. And to top it off, it’s also home to many award-winning breweries and has been considered the “hub” for craft beers in the region. Given all the activities and amenities Holland has to offer its residents, it’s not hard to see why people here are so happy.
High Concentration Of Talents
Michigan is known for its manufacturing industries. In 1970, almost one-third of the state’s population worked in the automotive industry. Although that number has descended to about 18 percent in recent years, the state remained the leader in automotive. Not surprisingly, Michigan has one of the highest concentrations of engineers per capita in the U.S. There are currently about 60 thousand engineers for the 9.9M residents in the state. Small companies in manufacturing or design will have an easier time sourcing talent locally.
Tight Knit Community
Holland is a charming city with a lot to love. Due to its abundance of local amenities and outdoor activities, people here tend to be more connected. As a result, the professional and startup communities are tight-knit and intertwined. People tend to know one another, and when resources are made available, the word gets out to the right people faster.
Being a part of a small community also means it’s easier to stand out from the crowd. In most major cities, you’re likely a tiny fish in a large pond. Here, you’re a big fish in a small pond. Having that extra attention and being surrounded by a supportive network can significantly benefit new businesses starting out.
Booming Startup Ecosystem
When startups thrive, so do the small businesses around them. Newly funded companies give the local economy a boost because they’re usually expected to spend the money within the next 12 – 18 months. That means they’re likely to lease office space and purchase equipment relatively soon after being funded. They’re also likely to hire attorneys, accountants and other service providers in the area. Given the generous spending habits of startups, it’s no mystery that having a booming startup ecosystem will naturally draw small businesses to the area.
And that’s precisely what’s been happening in Holland in the past several years. A study conducted by MVCA in 2017 suggested a 20 percent increase in new startups in West Michigan in the previous three years. The research also indicated that half of VC firms in the state have invested in startups in Holland. With a startup scene brewing and backed by VC dollars, small businesses are also beginning to make their bets on the city’s future.
Many cities attempt the trickle-down-economy approach of incentivizing large companies to move in first and hopefully one day attract small businesses. Unfortunately, the benefits rarely make its way down to small businesses. Holland is a unique city with offerings that appeal to small business owners from the start. It’s a great place to work, live and build a family. And the combination of rich culture and a healthy business environment makes it an attractive destination for small business owners.