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Peter and Jonathan discuss the pros and cons of being your own boss, interview Eric Cacciatore (creator of the Restaurant Unstoppable podcast) about what he’s learned from other restaurant owners, and examine Thumbtack’s list of the 10 friendliest cities for small business.

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Listen to Episode 14:

Show notes:

Audio transcript:

Jonathan: Hey Peter, how’s it going?

Peter: It’s going well Jonathan.

Jonathan: Good.

Peter: I was in charge of that answer, so I feel good about it.

Jonathan: That’s as far as your cue card went. Are you your own boss?

Peter: I don’t know. I sometimes feel like maybe I’m under the control of something else, a greater force. Sometimes I do wonder: If you are your own boss, when are you your own boss? What times of day? Who do you report to on what level?

Jonathan: There’s an entrepreneurial myth that once you start your own business the biggest benefit is that you get to be your own boss. You can control your own hours, set your pace, and that’s a very freeing thing. But that’s not all roses, is it?

Peter: It’s not all roses. I don’t know, I mean it may be roses. I think some people feel like they can’t live without it. The stare at a screen all day lifestyle isn’t for them, so they’re an entrepreneur by default, then they have to figure out what to actually do with that entrepreneurial spirit. The real question here is, is being your own boss all it’s cracked up to be? Is it right for you?

Jonathan: The article written by Tim Berry most recently, called The Pros and Cons of Being Your Own Boss, it’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Peter: That one’s on Bplans.com, is that right?

Jonathan: That’s right.

Peter: What’s the idea of “be your own boss”? Is it that you’re truly independent?

Jonathan: Or you just have a problem with authority and hate people telling you what to do?

Peter: I seriously question that sometimes when people say the “be your own boss” thing. Tim Berry point here number one: You’re at the wheel. You make the decisions yourself. I think we’ve had a lot of folks on, though, over this podcast life cycle, that have really been pro-mentoring. Is it necessarily the best possible thing to be in charge of all the decisions all the time, to be at the wheel at all times? Is that the best use of an entrepreneurs time?

Jonathan: I guess it depends, too, on just how frustrated you are in your own job where you’re not the boss. Do you have ideas about the direction that the company should be taking, and are frustrated by the fact that your ideas aren’t being listened to, and that’s the reason why you want to step away? Because you think “Hey, I get to decide what happens.”

Peter: Tim’s point here is interesting, the last point he makes, he feels safer when he’s driving, rather than the passenger. Especially in business. I think this is a good personality. This is a good litmus test for you, listener, is that driver’s seat right for you? Are you in charge of the company in your mind when you think of that fantasy business? Are you the one making all the decisions on a day to day basis, or are you, frankly, just really really good at the thing you want to start the business doing?

Jonathan: The second benefit of being your own boss, the second pro, is that you get to set your own hours.

Peter: Yeah, this one would kill me, I got to admit.  if I don’t have someone telling me that nine to five is the right time to show, I don’t know man, I don’t know when I would wake up.

Jonathan: Yeah. I can say that that’s probably true for me too, but it’s not from a lack of being self motivated, but then I also just fall into bad personal habits. I’m doing most of my work at night, I’m not sleeping at regular hours, and that’s not the best version of myself.

Peter: Setting your own hours as a part of being your own boss can really be a way of regimenting your day. Someone who’s got that personal discipline probably is going to have this really locked down. They’re going to understand how to segment out the day and make sure they make time for personal time, family time, that kind of thing. But are you sacrificing some amount of that time? Some amount of that family time, or interests, what makes you you? Is that a sacrifice that you’re willing to make? That’s one consideration. The other side is how do you decide to turn off that clock? I know with my first business, even out at the bar with friends you could be working, so why aren’t you? If you’re that kind of self motivated person it can actually be a real detriment because it’s a hard time turning it off.

Jonathan: So the third pro to being your own boss is that you get to set your own work style, workplace environment, and, even to the extent that you can afford it, the workplace equipment that you have.

Peter: Yeah, again, this sort of sense of control, this being behind the driver’s seat definitely applies to the car you’re driving too. This is a very good point. I think a lot of people are greatly affected by their surroundings. If your style is so strictly no decoration you might turn people off. If it’s so strictly adornment you might turn people off. You can go so far in a single direction with too much freedom that maybe that’s not the best for people around you, or employees, or partners.

Jonathan: Yeah, I think the greatest benefit for this one is for people who are sole proprietorships. The company is just them, and they get to decide where they’re going to work. They can maybe even make the decision on a daily basis. Today I’m feeling like I’m going to stay home and work from home. Get all my stuff done. You get that freedom and flexibility to make that decision to make that decision at any given time.

Peter: If you love, if you have to have the work environment your way, then probably that entrepreneurship aspect of what you’re doing is core and it’s part of you, and it’s important to you. That’s good. That’s a good identifier.

Jonathan: That kind of spills into this last pro that Tim listed. He says you get to set your own location. We talked about physical location in the city, maybe at home, maybe going to the office. He even means, at a broader level, what city are you in? Where are you working? Do you want to work abroad? You could do that if you are an entrepreneur and you are your own boss.

Peter: Yeah, this one gets a little skewed sometimes. Your dough shop might have a main street location, and if so of course you can’t work from anywhere. The truth is, if you have the type of work that you can do from anywhere, Tim talks about the lack of commute, that’s true, but there’s also actually a greater benefit. You literally could be anywhere. You could actually be scouting new clients in Bogota while doing work with most of your clients in California. There’s all these kinds of interesting twists on that where maybe even vacation during work becomes the norm. That’s a much more enjoyable lifestyle for you.

Jonathan: Yeah, and obviously we’re seeing more and more of this while people offer services online, that allows them to be remote but definitely what you mentioned. There’s small businesses that have to rely on the location that they set, and the services they provide there at that location.

Peter: Yeah, it’s funny, we put this one as a pro, and again, to me this is…maybe I’m really identifying myself here…the idea seems like a real rabbit hole. I think the balance there, and figuring out as a person, as an entrepreneur where those stop and start points are are kind kind of built in to this. If all those seem like pros to you then that would probably be the biggest advice.

Jonathan: Lets say you take time off and you have a week to yourself. What do you do with that time when you’re on vacation? I guess for me, what I end up seeing is maybe that first day or two off, the schedule is all over the place. Because this is me finally letting go of what I’ve been doing for the past several weeks and I might sleep in, I might watch a movie late, but by about two or three days in to it I even establish a routine in a vacation.

Peter: I think I actually get worse and worse as the vacation progresses.

Jonathan: So it just like devolves into…

Peter: And then it’s a terrible shock coming back to the real world. Yeah.

Jonathan: I don’t know, I’d like to hear from our listeners. Maybe that’s a good litmus test of how do you spend your time when you really truly have nothing but free time? Maybe that ties into how entrepreneurial you are.

Jonathan: Lets talk about the cons.

Peter: The cons.

Jonathan: Yeah. Number one con, you’re not really your own boss, are you? Somebody directs how you spend your time and what you’re doing with it.

Peter: Usually it’s the people who are in charge of making sure you get the money you need.

Jonathan: Yeah, so your customers are you boss, your clients are your boss.

Peter: If you are the sole proprietor, like you said, of these businesses out there you are beholden to the people who are giving you the money to stay in business. We’ve talked a little bit about planning, and lean management, and even some of the Kanban principles that we talked about a few episodes ago. Konbon?

Jonathan: Kanban.

Peter: I don’t know, ban the can.

Jonathan: Because we can can can.

Peter: Sort of indicate this idea that in some sense the customer is a great source of input, but also the customer is not always right. In fact this notion, this phrase that’s so popular, “The customer is always right” has been sort of mangled over the years. It was never meant to indicate that the person who is coming into your business and saying things is in fact the voice of reason.

Jonathan: The next thing, when your customers and clients aren’t necessarily your boss, your commitments are as well. Your commitments to vendors, to allies, to business activities. Once you start getting production in place and things rolling for your business, you’re kind of stuck needing to kind of follow through those.

Peter: Yeah, this is an amazing one for, I think, a lot of the artists out there who sort of grow into a craft business that then grow into a distributor type business. You’ll see a lot of these amazing stories out there where they’re sustainable when it’s enjoyable for the entrepreneur. If you’re brewing a certain amount of beer and it’s fun fun fun up until a certain point, and then that person doesn’t have their hands in the mix. The next day their commitments slide, their shipping schedules slide, everything else slides because they’re just not in love with the business anymore and then they’re the only person who’s in charge of that, so that’s it.

Jonathan: I think we talked about this on a previous podcast with regards to when is it time to hire somebody else on your team. For some people that comes a lot earlier because they really get excited by the idea of starting something up, getting it up and running, but the minute you get into all that operational stuff to keep it afloat, that’s where you start to really get mired.

Peter: I feel like there’s a theme here to Tim. He doesn’t like other things being your boss to not be considered. I feel like number three, he’s talking about if you’ve got employees…

Jonathan: You have responsibilities to pay them, to keep work coming in, you are in some ways, responsible for them.

Peter: This idea that you are your own boss, Jonathan, it’s not true. Is that what we’re saying with these three points?

Jonathan: Yeah, I think it’s not true, really.

Peter: Would you say that somebody who is your own boss actually has quantifiably more bosses than the sort of average middle management worker in a larger company?

Jonathan: Yeah, in the sense that you’re responsible for a lot more things. The buck stops there with you, so you need to make the decisions, you need to put the hours in to make sure that your business is a success.

Peter: I’d be interested…this is something I’d love to hear from our audience. Is it about being your own boss, or is it about doing the thing you love to do, or some combination of both? The thing that you do is almost secondary to the fact that you are such an entrepreneur at heart, which I think we’ve heard a lot from various guests, but also a lot of the people on Bplans, right?

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. You know the next two cons for being your own boss kind of have to do with finances.

Peter: All right, number four.

Jonathan: Number four, you spend your own money.

Peter: So this is an interesting thing, we do this here at Palo Alto Software, if you are choosing between plane rates and one’s quicker but more expensive we often say “Think about it, if you were willing to spend your own money on that difference. Would you justify that spend to yourself?” and if so it’s probably fine.  The interesting thing there is this is much more literal. If you have to pay your own rent in addition to company costs and that kind of thing sometimes the amount of money that the company makes is going to dictate how much you make at the end of the month. Is that fair?

Jonathan: Yeah, you might not be boot strapping, you might be able to secure a business loan or something like that, but that’s still money that you’re responsible for. Once you’re responsible for all the dollars and cents you might start looking a little bit harder at your expenses.

Peter: If you hit a point where it may be difficult to pay salaries out or something like that, you know, often times it’s the business owner takes the first cut. If you ever reach that point, it sometimes is because of this idea that the money wasn’t being spent in the same way that you might if you were on your own personal budget.

Jonathan: That’s right. There’s that question of what would you do if you had a million dollars? Well more often than not when you start your own business you don’t just get a million dollars to play with, you have whatever you’ve been able to raise. You’re not just spending it willy nilly to see what happens, you’re trying to set your business up to succeed over the long term.

Peter: Even those who do, have a good finance source, or a good initial start up loan, that kind of thing. It’s often very difficult, without the boot strapping process in place where they’ve become profitable slowly over time, to manage that money.

Jonathan: Okay fifth and final con, you earn what you earn. It’s the other side of that coin.

Peter: I think there’s a little bit more of a metaphorical version here as well. The company is growing at the rate that it’s growing at and your equity, percentage wise, is staying the same, but the thing that you own, the company that you own grows in value as you increase it’s revenues, it’s profitabilities, it’s size overtime, so truly the work that you put in and the earnings that you receive out of that are relative to your own effort in that space.

Jonathan: This one, for me, is definitely the reason why any time that I’ve thought about striking it out on my own, I don’t take that step because because you don’t have that guarantee that the money’s going to keep rolling in until you’ve been able to establish your business for a number of years. With a family I just can’t think about jumping out and doing that and trying to take care of a family at the same time.

Peter: For those who maybe have done freelancing, I know some designers, for example, who they just have enough clients that they’re working nonstop. The problem is that they may not be adept at wooing new clients, or even sourcing new leads to convert into new clients. They don’t understand this concept as a sales funnel. Even though they have a current stable that keeps them busy if one of them drops off the whole company could go under.

Jonathan: That’s the list. The four pros and the five cons to being your own boss, but we want to hear from you if you’re listening today, what did we miss? Maybe there’s a pro that we didn’t talk about, or maybe there’s a con that’s pushed you away from the idea.

Peter: Yeah, if you’ve started a business recently, why don’t you tell us your favorite and least favorite thing? That would be awesome to hear, we’ll maybe call some of those out in the next episode.

Jonathan: Absolutely, so reach out to us on Twitter @Bplans use the hashtag #Bcast or email us bcast@bplans.com and we’d love to hear from you.

Jonathan: You know Peter, today we’re talking about the pros and cons of being your own boss and we have a special guest with us today. His name is Eric Cacciatore. He’s the host of the podcast Restaurant Unstoppable. It kind of came out of his desire to start his own restaurant, but in the meantime, before he’s ready to do that, he wanted to learn as much as he could, and so he launched this podcast where he interviews restaurant owners and learns from them. Eric lets bring you on and have you talk about yourself and what you’re doing.

Eric: Yeah. Thanks for the introduction. Like you said I just started this podcast because I’m passionate about the industry, and I started listening to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts out there. I headhunt some of the most successful independently owned restaurant operators to kind of find out what it takes to be successful in one of the most challenging industries that exists. I kind of highlight their strengths. Basically what I’m trying to do is just paint the picture of what you you need to be successful in such a challenging industry and hopefully by recording these lessons and sharing them with other people we can create this community of support and everyone can learn together. I kind of consider myself a lifelong student, which is really exciting because the more I learn all these successful people, one of the reasons why they’re so successful is because they never stop learning. They’re always pushing themselves. They never think they’ve learned it all, and I think that’s one of the key lessons to take away.

Peter: One of our biggest groups of business types here in our audience are somehow food related. Whether it’s a restaurant, a food cart, distributor, it’s a wild space. It seems like there’s so much variety, and if anything it seems like there’s increasing innovation and sort of differentiation amongst these businesses. Does that make it a better time to be your own boss?

Eric: I mean there…I think one of the things that’s real unique about the food and beverage industry is there’s just so much passion. People are so passionate about whatever niche it is, whether it be beer or coffee, or pizza, or farm to table. There’s just so many little niches that desire to wake up and go to quote unquote work, but if you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing and you’re educating other people it doesn’t feel like work, and that’s the whole idea. But It could also be a trap, because some people don’t look at the cons of owning a business, and they just think about that one little thing that makes them so happy. Whether it be cooking, or whether it be working with people. There’s a whole other side that people don’t consider because they just have their eyes on the prize all the time.

Jonathan: Do you have a bunch of pitfalls that people should be worried about or looking to avoid? How would you approach that?

Eric: The behind the scenes, the marketing, the accounting and tax time, all those little things that people don’t have skills in…the book that comes to mind, and I’m sure you gentlemen are familiar with it and I’m sure your listeners are familiar with it, is “The E Myth.” The entrepreneurial myth is basically what that book’s about. That myth is that you get sucked into the you love, right, you think you can be a better boss than your boss, and then all of a sudden you go to open your dream job, or your dream restaurant or shop or whatever it is, and then you get sucked into all those little things that you’re not good at.

Jonathan: The idea of doing what you love is one of those kind of romantic notions, and I always kind of hear the other side of it, which is do what you’re good at. Sometimes that’s, from a profitability standpoint, the thing that no one else wants to do. If you’re good at something and no one else wants to do it and you can be proficient at it, you might be the most successful in that space, rather than the more romantic notion of what you love. It sounds like maybe those two things combine, at a pragmatic level, for everyone, no matter what. Does that seem fair? You got to do your bookkeeping even if you’re doing your fun food cart.

Eric: Yeah. One of my past guests recently said this. He said, you’ve got to stay in your lane. I think a lot of people, they’re in their lane, they’re really good at their lane, but you’re forced out of your lane when you open your own business. I think one of the biggest tricks to success is surrounding yourself with other people that belong in those lanes where you don’t belong. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges, and one of the things you should do in the early stages. Find those partners, find people who are strong where you’re weak so you can be well rounded, so you’re not doing it all yourself.

Peter: Eric, I think you are our 14 or 15 guest, but you’ve had over 180, is that right?

Eric: Yeah. Just published 186. They’re not…I would say probably 170 guests. I had done a few solo.

Peter: Yeah, no, what I was going to ask you is, obviously from all of those interviews, you had to have picked up somethings along the way. What are some key takeaways that you’ve learned from those restaurant owners?

Eric: Some of the biggest takeaways, basically, is just make sure you’re absolutely in love with what you’re doing. It’s a huge commitment. There’s so much potential reward there, but with reward comes high risk. You can’t picture yourself doing anything else. Unless you wake up and just dream and just are totally consumed with the idea, it’s what you’re on this earth to do, really think twice about it.

Jonathan: In terms of tips for executing this kind of dream, I know I, for one, would feel extremely distracted and maybe even lost if I had to go start my own food cart or coffee brewing business or coffee roastery, rotisserie? Coffee rotisserie business, tomorrow. I just wonder, how do you stay on track? How do you set the compass? What do you do to make sure that you are doing what you love, but also are setting some progress forward?

Eric: One lesson that we’ve learned is how crucial it is to have a vision, to have a mission, and to have it written down before you start so you can remind yourself everyday, so you don’t drift off course, so you know what your purpose is, and so your people working with you all have that similar purpose and that similar mission. Just to back peddle a little bit, if you’re truly passionate and you really want to get in this industry, if you have the money with a previous career, go work for somebody else who is doing what you’re doing, or as close to what you’re doing as possible, and learn as much as possible. Find the most successful person at it and just go work for them. The really successful people in this industry, one of the reasons why they’re so successful is because they’re so wiling to help other people get to where they’re going. There’s so much generosity out there.

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve had some great guests in our past and a lot of them have talked about the idea of mentoring and the importance of having a mentor in your business space. This notion that sometimes you can learn from their mistakes, but also just having that reassurance, even if you’re doing the right thing, having someone say that you’re doing the right thing can often be incredibly helpful to making sure you do it the most efficient way possible. Having that mentor there to just say, “Yes, you’re on the right track. Yes, you’re doing it right.” Can be all the difference between feeling kind of lost and a success.

Eric: Absolutely. I love that you bring up the word mentor because really, that’s kind of the theme that Restaurant Unstoppable adopted or developed over time. It’s a melting pot of mentors. They’ll tell you their stories. They’ll tell you their failures, and that’s one of the biggest pros to having a mentor is you can learn from their mistakes.

Peter: Here’s a question for you. After all of these interviews so far, what’s your level of interest in starting that restaurant down the road?

Eric: I was fortunate enough to grow up in the restaurant industry. My parents owned a restaurant, they opened it when I was three years old, and they had it for 10 years. I really kind of lived through that experience, of seeing all the cons, of going to the grocery store with my mom at 10:00 or however late the store was open, puling two carriages, one for home, one for the store, and then seeing them struggle with bills. My mom, literally, sitting in tears at the kitchen table, not knowing how you’re going to pay the bills. I looked down the barrel.

If anything, after done all these interviews, I’m even more passionate and more excited because of what I’ve learned. Really, the most successful people out there will be the first person to tell you they’re not the best at what they do. They will give credit to their team before they ever take credit. I think it’s really the people who can surround themselves with the how people. I’m very much a why person. I think successful people in this industry are very much why people. Meaning they’re here because they know why. They have a mission or a vision or something they want to create, and they surround themselves with those how people. Knowing that I’m a why person, knowing that I can energize people, I’m very contagious, I have learned that it takes surrounding yourself with those skilled people. I think I’m good at gathering people, so I’m even more excited now than before.

Jonathan: Sounds like being contagious with the right thing is a critical component of that.

Peter: Yeah, just a quick note to our listeners, Eric is not contagious to you over the airwaves.

Jonathan: It’s an audio virus.

Peter: Yeah. You will be okay.

Jonathan: It attacks you at your language center. We’re making “Metal Gear Solid” references here now. This is solid. Eric, when I was young I would say if I had infinity money and everything else was set, my probably dream lifestyle was to live on and operate a vineyard. As I grew older, I sort of formulated this a little more concisely and started thinking, “Well, if I did that I would need people doing all the work for me.” Pretty much everything. As I grew older, I realized that this fantasy life, this dream, actually contained none of the actual work or business associated with that. In fact, I don’t even really want to live on a vineyard, I’d rather live downtown.

Peter: I just want to drink wine. Let’s start with that baseline.

Jonathan: Or just be near it, maybe, I don’t even know. I’m kind of admitting this, maybe I’ve never talked about this in here, but this is a real thing. Over my life, I’ve sort of evolved away from what I thought … Again, if you asked me 10, 20 years ago, this would be the answer I would give you. How do you deal with that, to bring this back to a real practical level here, how do you deal with that aspect of how people are? I might love the idea of roasting coffee right now. It might be my true passion, my absolute calling, but five years from now, what happens when that changes?

Eric: Its’ a flashy title, being a restaurant owner. People think that there’s a lot of luxuries involved. If those are the reasons why you’re drawn to the industry, I would say that’s a red flag. Those aren’t the right reasons. You have to get into this industry because you love the work you’re doing and because you love making people happy. You can’t make the reward monetary. If you’re just somebody who wakes up and just loves making people happy, and you’re reward is seeing the smiles on your guests face, and knowing that you’re mentoring somebody who’s passionate about the industry, those are the rewards you need to set for yourself, to my opinion, make it in this industry. I hope I’m answering your question.

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll say next week, we’ve got on Anthony Bourdain, who I’m sure will propose a conflicting opinion there, but that’s just great. I think Nathan’s working on that. We have a new producer here, Nathan, going to get Anthony Bourdain on this show.

Eric: There’s a lot of opportunity if you’re one of those people that are hard working and you’re showing up for the right reasons and you’re doing it for the right reasons. Over time, you will be rewarded in monetary ways, but you can’t have that be your end game. You really have to get into it for the right reasons.

Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely.

Peter: That’s fantastic.

Jonathan: Some special cases out there. So, let’s wrap this up maybe with one more tip here. Out of all those people you’ve talked to, what’s the more universal takeaway that maybe all of us can live with, can apply to our business, whatever type of business it might be?

Eric: If you open a restaurant, you have an amazing outlet to touch a lot of people’s lives in a positive way, whether it’s your guests, whether it’s making someone’s anniversary special, or a special event where you’re creating an environment where something can really truly be celebrated and you provide that outlet to just make people happy, not just your guests, but your inner guests, your employees, there’s so many people who are passionate about this industry and just want to exercise that passion, and you can really be an outlet to mentor those people. If you can help people get to the next stage in life, whether it be opening their own restaurant or becoming an executive chef, and you help them, no matter where it is, there’s a lot of young people that get into this industry. To be able to be a mentor, constantly having new fresh blood come through your restaurant, if you can make those rewards in life, being able to touch other people in a positive way, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.

Peter: Awesome. Thank you so much Eric for your time. If people want to hear more from you or learn more about you and what you’re doing, where can they go online?

Eric: You can find me at www.restaurantunstoppable.com. That’s restaurant singular, unstoppable.com. I’m on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. If you Google search “restaurants podcast” this is my little bragging. This is where I like to brag. I’m the number one search result, which is really exciting. I’m easy to find.

Jonathan: All right, we’ll we’re going to come and get you when we get this Anthony Bourdain guest. Our new producer, Nathan, working on getting that Anthony Bourdain guest next week.

Peter: Not if, but when.

Jonathan: If and when. if and when our new producer gets that, we’ll talk about it next week. I’m sure he’s going to disagree with everything you say. Probably blow a lot of smoke into the microphone, et cetera. Right? Looking forward to that part of the business.

Peter: Awesome. Thanks for being with us today Eric.

Eric: It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Peter: Hey Jonathan, I saw on CNBC.com the top 10 friendliest cities for small businesses.

Jonathan: Were going to make it easy for you and just tell you the list.

Peter: They’re Quoting a Thumbtack research.

Jonathan: Who’s Thumbtack? They are a research company that actually does this survey that …

Peter: So Thumbtack did some research. the friendliness is not of the small business, but of the city or state.

Jonathan: They track a few different metrics, like the ease of starting a business, ease of hiring. They also look at the regulations in the city, health and safety, employment, tax code, licensing, zoning. All those things are variables that go into this metric.

Peter: All right, so let’s talk through the friendliness then. Number 10 best, San Antonio Texas.

Jonathan: I you’re listening and you’re from these cities, we want to hear from you. Do you agree?

Peter: How friendly?

Jonathan: San Antonions how do you feel about being 10 on the list? Should you be higher? What do you think?

Peter: San Antonio’s number ten, Boulder, Colorado, and so we’re looking at some of the strengths that they’re talking about here from the Thumbtack survey. Health and safety, license and regulation, so fallowing on the Colorado trend, number eight is Fort Collins, Colorado. Number one in training and networking, which I guess really boosted their ranking up to number eight there, total.

Jonathan: Yeah. We’ve got another Texas city, Houston, number seven.

Peter: Good barbecue. I’ll give them that.

Jonathan: What’s funny is I thought everything was big in Texas, but here we have a number of cities that are friendly small businesses, not just big ones. Number six was Nashville Tennessee, great job, but you were edged out by Knoxville.

Peter: Oh, Knoxville Tennessee, also.

Jonathan: I don’t know is there’s any instate rivalry between Knoxville and Nashville?

Peter: Yeah, Knoxville, number one at ease of starting a business, which is interesting. I might need to read up a little more on that.

Jonathan: Yeah, what’s interesting is they’re also number two when it comes to employment labor and hiring, and number two in zoning regulations. Kind of interesting to see why they’re not much higher on the list. How did they only get to number five? Number four, Austin Texas.

Peter: Austin. Lots of Texas representation here.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Peter: It’s a big state, though, to be fair. Most surprising on the list, for me as a northern Virginia resident, Richmond, Virginia, number three. Home of GWAR, the band. And lots of other exciting, I’m sure, punk rock related things.

Jonathan: So it’s friendly for small businesses, but at the same time, they have six Fortune 500 companies based in those city limits, so also friendly for big businesses, I guess.

Peter: Number one rating on health and safety. Is that a quality of life thing for employees? I hope so. Number two in line, Dallas Texas.

Jonathan: Hey, another Texas city.

Peter: Another Texas, so I guess they do it bigger in terms of their participation in lists.

Jonathan: They are the biggest friendly state. All right.

Peter: Dallas, Texas, number two, number one in employment labor and hiring. Pretty exciting. All right, what’s number one?

Jonathan: It’s not a Texas city, which is surprising with this list. Manchester New Hampshire, out of no where.

Peter: Who’s from Manchester New Hampshire in our audience, and congrats to you. We’ll send you a ribbon of some sort? Is that right?

Jonathan: No, this isn’t out study. It’s just …

Peter: If someone emails us for their ribbon, I will send it to them.

Jonathan: Fair enough. If your city was on the list, reach out to us, tell us what you think. Should they be higher? Do they not belong there? If your city wasn’t on the list, how do you think it ranks? Where does it fit? Is it friendly for your small business? There’s also another aspect to this whole list, which is if we’ve got the ten top ones, we can also go to Thumbtack and look at and see which cities qualify for the worst cities.

Peter: Number three, New Haven Connecticut. Number three worst…What are we talking about? Worst cities to start a business?

Jonathan: These are basically the least friendly cities.

Peter: Most unfriendliest.

Jonathan: Yes. They don’t want your small business.

Peter: Least friendliest cities to start a business. Here’s a surprising, Providence Rhode Island. I guess it’s a good place to go if you are in college. Good place for Belle and Sebastian songs to take place.

Jonathan: The absolute worst city, the least friendliest city, Buffalo, New York.

Peter: Least most friendliest city in the entire United States. Hey, Buffalo, what’s gone wrong guys?

Jonathan: Yeah. What’s happening?

Peter: What’s happened guys?

Jonathan: No one’s going to reach out to us from Buffalo.

Peter: Well, because they’re so unfriendly, I guess, as a city.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Peter: Listen, if you’re from Buffalo and you want to help revitalize the city, maybe Bplans can help. Maybe we’ll start a make Buffalo more friendly to small business campaign.

Jonathan: What do you think? How friendly was your city? Was it easy to start your small business there? What kind of obstacles have you run into or had to overcome?

Peter: So, Jonathan, the small business sentiment part of this Thumbtack study, if you pop into that part of the study and you can see that they have this rating scale where small business rate whether they’re somewhat positive, very positive, about their own future in their state. The interesting things is no single state has a very positive rating. Almost all states have a somewhat positive rating.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Peter: This might be more kind of a psychosis of the entrepreneur thing. You’ve got to be sort of this neutral, somewhat positive, generally a good outlook, but a little bit cautious. Is that a fair thing to say? Maybe the data’s skewed because of the psychosis of entrepreneurship?

Jonathan: Yeah, like the inherent optimism of somebody that…who’s going to answer and say, “No, actually I think my small business is not going to do well in the future.”

Peter: Exactly. They have to think positive or else they probably wouldn’t be doing this in the first place.

Jonathan: Right. The ones not be positive have probably already closed.

Peter: It’s almost like a trick question. Listeners, good for you for being so positive out there. We appreciate your positivity. Good luck with all your ventures. If you are angry about me calling you psychosis havers, then go ahead and send us an email too, why not?

Jonathan: Yeah, reach out to us.

What’s everyone’s outlook that the next episode’s going to be awesome. Let us know by email. The positive vibes, keep them coming our way.

Jonathan: You bet. I’m somewhat positive about that.

Peter: Somewhat positive?

Jonathan: Yep.

Peter: Wonderful.

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