Whether you're thinking of expanding your existing business somewhere else or whether you'd like to plant your startup's roots somewhere new, it pays to research any locale you're planning on doing business in before you start breaking ground.

To help you do just that, we've prepared this State-By-State Guide to Doing Business, based on data in the SBA's "2004 State Small Business Economic Profiles" report, an annual study that includes information from 2003 on the total number of firms, small-business income, industrial composition, job growth, and minority and women-owned businesses throughout the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more research and reports on small business, visit the SBA's Office of Advocacy website.

State Profiles

State Profile: United States

Number of Businesses

The estimated total number of small businesses in the United States in 2003 was 22,659,000. Of the 5,696,600 employer firms in 2003, 99.7 percent or an estimated 5,679,500 were small firms. The estimated number of employer businesses increased by 0.3 percent in 2003. The most recent data available show that non-employer businesses numbered 16,979,498 in 2001. Self-employment increased by 3.7 percent, from 9,926,000 in 2002 to 10,295,000 in 2003.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census; U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Women-Owned Businesses

Self-employment by women increased by 5.3 percent, from 3,657,292 in 2002 to 3,850,889 in 2003 and represented 37.4 percent of self-employed persons in the United States. Women-owned businesses generated $818.7 billion in revenues, employed 7,076,081 workers, and constituted 5,417,000 firms or 26 percent of all firms in 1997.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

Minority-Owned Businesses

In 1997, 20.2 percent or 615,200 of the minority-owned businesses in the United States were employer firms, and they generated 87.4 percent of the total minority-owned business revenue of $591.3 billion. There were 1,199,900 Hispanic-owned businesses; 823,500 Black-owned businesses; 913,000 Asian and Pacific Islander-owned businesses; and 197,300 American Indian and Alaskan Native-owned businesses in 1997.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census

Business Turnover

The estimated number of new employer businesses was 572,900 in 2003, which is 2.8 percent less than the previous year. Business bankruptcies decreased by 9.1 percent, and totaled 35,037 in 2003. Business terminations decreased by 2.5 percent and numbered 554,800 in 2003.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census


Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees numbered 5,640,407 in 2001 and employed 57,383,450 people or 49.9 percent of the U.S. non-farm private workforce (Table 1). Total net employment gain in the state amounted to 999,970 between 2000 and 2001. Of that number, 1,080,319 are attributable to MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas). During the same time period, firms with fewer than 20 employees gained 1,111,183 jobs.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistics of U.S. Businesses

Small-Business Income

Small business proprietors' income in 2003 increased by 7.3 percent, from $800.4 billion in 2002 to $858.9 billion in 2003.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce


Small firms typically use commercial bank lenders and rely on local bank services. Over the past five years, there's been a gradual decline in the number of banks in the United States.
(See our "Best Banks" listing for complete information on the best banks for small business.)

State Profiles

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