Lenawee County was named the best county in the state of Michigan for small business by the SmartAsset website. The rating comes as no surprise to the locals, but they are very grateful for the recognition.
SmartAsset has created an interactive map that reveals the best counties for small business owners in the United States and in each state.
To determine the best places for small business owners, the study measured three factors: the proportion of people in a county with small business income, reported business income, and how much tax a resident has. potential must pay out of their income.
To determine how attractive a region is to small business owners, SmartAsset compared the number of tax returns that report small business income and compares it to the region’s total filing population. Then he compared the total amount of small business income to the overall amount of income reported in each region.
Small businesses are usually incorporated as flow-through entities, which means that business owners pay taxes on the profits of the business rather than the corporation itself paying income tax. For this reason, income taxes can play a major role in determining the financial success of a small business. To determine the tax burdens in the counties, the study used the national median household income, then applied the relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state, and local income taxes for each location.
These three factors were then indexed and weighted equally to produce the SmartAsset Small Business Index. The places with the highest Small Business Index are the top ranked places in the study.
“I don’t know if they see overall income as the quality of life versus the cost of living in an area, but that would definitely be an advantage in Lenawee County. We have a lot of advantages here for the quality of life and we are not as expensive when it comes to housing and other areas in our county, ”said Jim Van Doren, executive director of Lenawee Now. “We don’t have a lot of communities that have city income taxes, but most of them don’t, so those are probably other areas when they look at taxes.”
The infrastructure is definitely there for people looking to start a business, said Tim Robinson, COO of Lenawee Now.
“We have a lot of infrastructure here that we’ve built over the last five or six years for small businesses. I mean you have the Launch Lenawee program that we’re participating in at the armory to help people with an idea on a napkin turn it into a business or determine if there’s a business there, ”Robinson said. . “Lenawee has the Adrian / Tecumseh Smart Zone. We are a satellite of the Ann Arbor Smart Zone, which is an economic development tool for the state. And we use it to create what we call the Business Support Team.
This Lenawee Now team is a group of four students who intern with the organization every semester, working with companies and startups to help them in a number of areas, including customer discovery. Based on a small business matrix they’ve created, they can tell who else is in a startup’s field, who’s doing things right, and who isn’t doing things right to give entrepreneurs the job. county an idea of what other companies are doing.
“We also applied for grants that allow us to provide them with consultants to help them find out what their needs are in marketing and other areas. And on top of that, we have a lot of loan programs in place, much like some of the other communities, except we’re a smaller community and they have easier access to it. We called them the ‘lion funds’, but they are angel funds, ”said Van Doren. “We have an intermediary loan program to which we distribute loans to low-income people from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the revolving loan fund which is administered for the Lenawee County government. So there is a lot of stuff here that is available for small businesses.
Small businesses have always been the center of attention at Lenawee Now, according to Robinson.
“This has been one of our goals. Usually traditional economic development is all about attracting, you know, the next big ribbon cutting, right? You bring in the next 1,000-person factory. And we do, but we recognize all the time that bread and butter are local businesses, especially small businesses, that we do everything we can to help foster that and then grow those businesses, ”Robinson said. .
Lenawee Now also creates a talent pool for these companies by working with school systems and colleges.
“We have a program that we put in place to get into school systems to put in place programs to train people so that they can have a talent pool available to them. And it’s a dynamic program. It is probably one of the few in the state of Michigan. It actually gives people cumulative high school and post-secondary certificates that they can show certain job characteristics, ”Van Doren said.
Matt Swartzlander, Executive Director of the Adrian and Tecumseh Region Chambers of Commerce, said it was great to get this recognition.
“It’s great news to see this recognition of something we’ve known for a while. I think that’s what our communities are built on right now, it’s our small businesses. I think we expect people to take the initiative to create a better life for themselves and a better community through the service they provide to each other, ”said Swartzlander. “I think you see that in our downtown areas and in the various shopping areas in our community, but also just across the service industry.”
The point is, residents of Lenawee County buy locally.
“The commitment to locals here and across Lenawee County is strong and I think this is evident with the number of people we have running their own small businesses. So that’s exciting to see and part of what we need to focus on over the next few years is creating better opportunities for our small businesses and working to strengthen the ones we have and provide the ‘opportunity and initiative to those who have ideas and also want to go into business,’ said Swartzlander.
The rooms are always there to support the next entrepreneur.
“The chamber is always delighted to hear news from our small business community. The chamber is here to support small businesses across Lenawee County and ensure that the tools, resources, relationships and education and everything in between are available to small businesses in this community so that we can help. to strengthen them, ”Swartzlander said.