Small business growth is up according to a December report from the National Federation of Independent Business, and nearly 60 percent of business owners are feeling optimistic about the U.S. economy, according to the latest outlook survey from professional services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.
As many entrepreneurs are looking to transition from a full-time job to owning their own business, franchising is a great option as it offers a smooth transition into business ownership with the support of a corporate team and the power of brand recognition.
As visitors to the International Franchising Association convention in New Orleans will clearly see, there is no shortage of brands from which to choose. While there is an abundance of franchising opportunities across the United States, there are a few cities particularly poised for expansive growth in franchising right now.
Based on the 2010 Census data from the United States Census Bureau, here is a list of the top 10 cities to watch with regard to potential franchise growth opportunity:
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 46.2 percent
Housing units: 224,573
Median household income: $46,146
Estimated number of businesses: 50,970
Why Atlanta: The Atlanta area's 57 surrounding colleges and universities provide a deep pool of young skilled workers for local franchises looking for talented, qualified entry level and managerial training candidates.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 29.0 percent
Housing units: 943,257
Median household income: $42,463
Estimated number of businesses: 121,288
Why Dallas: Dallas is known to be a great market for small business growth. Because of Dallas’ relatively low cost of living, including utilities taxes, business license fees, sales tax and property taxes, the city offers tremendous opportunity for small businesses to open and grow. Dallas also has no wage tax, occupation tax, and residents pay no state personal income tax – which is a plus!
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 42.2 percent
Housing units: 285,797
Median household income: $49,091
Estimated number of businesses: 67,515
Why Denver: Denver is the best city to live in for a small business employee, according to a study from Card Hub. The study also found that approximately 97 percent of employees in the Colorado market work for small businesses, proving it is a booming area for franchise growth.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 27.5 percent
Housing units: 379,856
Median household income: $42,144
Estimated number of businesses: 63,805
Why Indianapolis: The average office rental price in Indianapolis is the most affordable on the list for opening a new small business, at $17.73 per square foot per year – well below the national average of $19.30 per square foot.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 30.9 percent
Housing units: 221,860
Median household income: $45,150
Estimated number of businesses: 35,820
Why Kansas City: Within the last few years, Kansas City has shown unbelievable momentum in the entrepreneurial and small business innovation space, offering entrepreneurs a lot of opportunity to open their own small business. Local entrepreneurs also have been taking advantage of Kansas City’s relatively lower cost of living.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 34.3 percent
Housing units: 272,622
Median household income: $45,982
Estimated number of businesses: 61,671
Why Nashville: The biggest advantage to opening a franchise in The Music City is its affordability. Nashville offers the lowest living costs of any city on this list. In fact, business costs are 4.3 percent below the national average across industries, offering a lot of opportunity for franchising.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 32.1 percent
Housing units: 121,254
Median household income: $42,418
Estimated number of businesses: 30,564
Why Orlando: The University of Central Florida's Business Incubation Program is currently helping more than 130 small businesses establish themselves in the fields of biotechnology, engineering, environmental services and more, positioning it as a great market for education, service and eco-friendly franchises.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 35.1 percent
Housing units: 156,165
Median household income: $38,029
Estimated number of businesses: 24,605
Why Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, is home to 118 research institutes and centers, which help launch 15 to 20 new start-ups a year, on average. This entrepreneurial spirit carries over into the market, where there is significant opportunity for small businesses, as well as highly educated talent to partner with franchise brands.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 33.8 percent
Housing units: 98,349
Median household income: $39,445
Estimated number of businesses: 15,148
Why Richmond: According to Bloomberg Business Week, Richmond is one of the top cities for new college graduates to move to for job opportunities. Since the majority of Richmond's economy has been driven by educational institutions, finance, law and government in the downtown area, there is great potential for new small business concepts to infiltrate and expand through the market.
Bachelor’s Degree or higher; percent of persons age 25+: 52.0 percent
Housing units: 376,942
Median household income: $73,802
Estimated number of businesses: 105,030
Why San Francisco: No city-business list would be complete without San Francisco. Skilled employees and workers are plentiful in the Bay Area, making it an ideal market for franchises to open and provide customers with great service. San Francisco, specifically, has the highest percentage of college-educated workers, as well.