Getting Started in the Best State for Business
lost during the recession
have already been
In fiscal 2010,
Received more than
In state spending, including
Starting a small business in a turbulent global economy can test even the strongest of characters. But it’s this spirit of determination and drive for success that has made Texas a favored destination for businesses looking for a strong environment in which to thrive and prosper.
Despite the bad news nationwide, including an uncertain housing market and flat employment data, there’s optimism in Texas, where the lack of a state income tax, healthy export volume and rapid population growth has made the state a relatively safe environment for starting and growing a small business.
Texas’ economic data buttresses that optimism. About four-fifths of the Texas jobs lost during the recession have already been recovered. And at this writing, the state’s unemployment numbers have remained below the national average for 52 consecutive months.
Getting Off the Ground
Our state offers a number of resources for Texans hoping to turn their dreams into a profitable enterprise.
The state’s official website, Texas.gov, offers a wealth of information on unemployment insurance, labor laws, available incentives and other topics of interest. A section called “MyTexasBiz” tells prospective business owners the permits and licenses they need to get started in Texas.
The Texas Governor’s Small Business Advocacy group provides numerous links to state and federal resources, information on exporting and a detailed “Guide to Starting a Business” that introduces beginning entrepreneurs to the major mileposts facing any new business, including:
- defining a legal structure for the new business and properly filing a business name;
- determining its potential federal, state and local tax responsibilities;
- obtaining needed licenses, permits, certifications, registrations or authorizations; and
- understanding federal and state employer requirements.
The Comptroller’s office offers assistance to the state’s historically underutilized businesses (HUBs). HUBs are businesses that are least 51 percent owned by a minority member or a woman, with their principal place of business in Texas and at least one owner residing in the state.
Texas’ statewide HUB Program is intended to encourage HUB involvement in the state procurement process and to ensure that they receive a fair share of state business. Registered HUBs also are urged to participate in the Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL), a list of pre-approved vendors that state purchasers must consult before contracting for goods and services.
“The Centralized Master Bidders List is essentially a master list of reliable vendors,” says Rachel Snell, marketing coordinator for the Comptroller’s Statewide HUB Program. “Our goal is to create access, and give registrants the ability to receive bids based on products or services they can provide the state. State purchasers are required to go here first to develop a mailing list to send notifications of their needs.”
In addition, contractors often use the state’s HUB Directory to identify HUBs for subcontracting opportunities.
In fiscal 2010, certified HUBs received more than $2.1 billion in state spending, including more than $987 million in subcontracts awarded by other state contractors. While the state’s total expenditures fell by more than $260 million in fiscal 2010, its spending with HUBs rose by more than $148 million, a 7 percent increase. The percentage of dollars spent with HUBs rose from 14.5 percent to 15.9 percent.
“The CMBL and the HUB certification are two separate databases but together increase your exposure to the state government,” says Snell. “Networking is another important step. You are the best voice for your company.”
HUB certification is free of charge and inclusion on the CMBL costs $70 annually.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers an online Small Business Training Network — a virtual classroom that offers courses in finance and accounting, business planning, and marketing and advertising at no cost. FN