Study Finds Better Business Climates in Mid-Sized Cities

Staff Report

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

In a groundbreaking study conducted this summer, business leaders of all sizes from across the country report they are routinely choosing to establish and grow their businesses in mid-sized cities rather than large metro areas. Mid-sized cities outperformed large cities across almost every measure related to business satisfaction.

Developed by Inc. Media and the PhD Resource Group, LLC, and in conjunction with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and Texas Tech University, the study analyzed those critical success factors business owners and senior executives consider when determining where to locate or expand their companies.

The full study, published online by Inc. Magazine, was led by Dr. Bradley Ewing, principal at PhD Resource Group, LLC, and C.T. McLaughlin Chair of Free Enterprise at the Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business.

"The findings in the study were definitive. Business owners are resoundingly more satisfied in mid-sized markets than in larger, more congested areas," stated Ewing. "Communities like Amarillo offer exactly what companies are looking for—access to high quality infrastructure, lifestyle, capable workforce and other essential ingredients for long-term growth and success."

When surveyed, business owners and executives of businesses in mid-sized cities (defined as those with populations between 100,000 and 500,000) repeatedly stated their preference for smaller markets over major metros with regard to quality of life, cost of living, cost of doing business, and access to overall business support.

  • Business leaders were 27% more satisfied with their access to resources versus their peers in larger cities.

  • Owners and operators in mid-sized markets were 23% more satisfied with the costs and access they experience in their smaller communities as compared to their peers in major metros.

  • Mid-sized cities rated 24% higher in access to universities and research facilities versus their big city counterparts.

"This study illustrates what we have experienced in Amarillo for many years," stated Barry Albrecht, president and CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. "We know mid-sized communities like ours offer strong business support, low costs, and a better work/life balance. The rate at which businesses are starting and growing in Amarillo is just another testament to the benefits and opportunity communities like ours offer." 

The findings further illustrated that three primary factors influence business owners when determining the location of their companies: average growth of business revenue, access to resources, and overall quality of life.

The study is part of a multi-year campaign launched by the AEDC with Inc. Magazine. The initiative is managed in conjunction with Amarillo College, West Texas A&M University, West Texas Enterprise Center, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Amarillo National Bank.