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10 Best and Worst Cities to Work for a Small Business

A new WalletHub ranking, plus tips on finding a small-business job

By John S Kiernan, WalletHub.com | May 13, 2014

(This article appeared previously on Wallethub.com.)
 
In honor of National Small Business Week this week, WalletHub sought to identify the cities that are the most and least friendly to employees of small companies and to offer advice on landing a job at a small firm.
 
With small businesses employing about 47 percent of the private U.S. workforce and creating more than 60 percent of the new jobs added over the past 20 years, it bears asking what opportunities exist for the roughly 12.3 percent of people who are unemployed or marginally attached to the labor force (according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

WalletHub used 10 metrics, ranging from net small business job growth and industry variety to hours worked and average wages for new hires (the entire list is at the end of this article) to evaluate the state of small business in the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. We then ranked the cities based on their overall attractiveness for job seekers.

(MORE: Best and Worst States to Retire)

Below are The Top 10 and Bottom 10 metro areas, with Minneapolis, Minn. getting the No. 1 ranking and Stockton, Calif. ranked No. 100 (four other California metros are in The Bottom 10).

On WalletHub, you can also find best and worst metro area rankings for small business job growth; small businesses per 1,000 inhabitants; average number of hours worked and small business vitality.
 
The Top 10
 
1. Minneapolis, Minn.
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
3. Miami, Fla.
4. Madison, Wisc.
5. Oklahoma City, Okla.
6. San Francisco, Calif.
7. Denver, Colo.
8. Seattle, Wash.
9. Dallas, Texas
10. Indianapolis, Ind.

 
The Bottom 10
 
100. Stockton, Calif.
99. Modesto, Calif.
98. Augusta, Ga.
97. Jackson, Miss.
96. Scranton, Pa.
95. Bakersfield, Calif.
94. Chattanooga, Tenn.
93. Riverside, Calif.
92. Fresno, Calif.
91. Youngstown, Ohio


(MORE: Where to Find Money to Start a Business)
 
6 Tips for Landing A Small Business Job

If you'd like to find work at a small business, follow these tips:
 
1. Tailor your search, but avoid limiting yourself. Focus on the jobs for which your skills are appropriate (rather than what your degree is in, no matter where they may be.)
 
2. Move proactively if necessary. The entrepreneurs who run successful small businesses are busy folks who garner a lot of interest from local job applicants. They tend to give these candidates more consideration, as it’s simply easier to interview them and more likely they will accept a job if offered. So if you’re not finding the type of job you want where you’re currently living, you should definitely at least consider moving to one of the highest ranked cities in the study.

(MORE: How 'Nontrepreneurs' Can Win Money)
 
3. Focus on the future. Job seekers have a tendency to overemphasize immediate compensation and the sheer availability of a job. While there is obviously something to be said for being able to pay the bills in the short term, it’s also important to consider opportunities for growth within a given company, the likelihood of that company achieving long-term success and the potential for skills development that could help you find other work in the future.
 
4. Customize your approach. It’s important to not only customize your cover letter and resumé. for each position you’re interested in, but also to research each company to gain a sense of the type of employee they’re looking for.
 
5. Mind your online footprint. Before applying for any jobs, adjust your privacy settings on all social media accounts and have explanations ready for any publicly available information that might reflect poorly on you.
 
6. Have a positive attitude. Small employers are looking for people who will be pleasant to work with every day. What’s more, an eagerness to learn can be enough to get you a serious look for jobs for which you might not have a perfect background.
 
 
WalletHub used the following metrics to evaluate each major metro area’s small business friendliness:
 
Number of businesses under 250 employees per 1,000 inhabitants; Industry variety; Net small business job growth; Small business vitality (small business job growth relative to workforce and population trends); Average number of hours worked (lower numbers worked were viewed favorably); Average monthly earnings for new hires; Unemployment rate; Average disposable income; Cost of living and Well-being index
 
John Kiernan is Senior Writer & Editor at Evolution Finance.