The States and Industries Leading Business Growth
- The top states interested in scaling their small businesses are Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
- Cities most interested in scaling their small businesses are Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta.
- Searches for “how to grow a real estate business” have increased by 1,053% since 2018.
- The top advice from successful business owners is: Listen to customers to ensure their satisfaction.
Searching for Scalability
There’s no denying the impact that small businesses have on society and the U.S. economy. As such, the health of small businesses is an important aspect of the nation’s overall economic health. To get a sense of economic and business health in different parts of the country, we wanted to find out which states have been most interested in growing their businesses.
So, we analyzed Google search data to see where Americans have searched for certain business-related phrases. We also surveyed over 1,000 business owners about their best advice for growing businesses. Which states have the most residents looking to grow their businesses, and which industries are seeing hypergrowth? Let’s dive into the data.
States Looking To Scale Small Business
Starting a small business is hard, but growing it is another challenge altogether. We looked at the Google search trends for the phrases “how to scale business operations,” “how to grow your small business,” and “small business growth tips” to find which states were searching for growth tips the most.
From 2020 to 2022, the most business-growth searches per 1 million residents happened in Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Montana.
Delaware, which saw 220.3 searches per million residents, was also recently ranked the 10th best state to start a business by Forbes. This ranking can be attributed to its relatively low business costs, high financial accessibility, and healthy economy. Delaware also has no sales tax, making it especially attractive to business owners.
Similarly, Forbes ranked Montana seventh on their list of best states for new businesses, and this state landed in fifth place among our top five states looking to scale theirs up. Additionally, in 2021, a study by The Motley Fool named Montana the best state to open a business due to its large number of entrepreneurs and good track record of business survival over time.
Neighboring states New Hampshire and Vermont also made our top five and saw a big boom in new businesses last year. In Vermont, 1.6% more new business applications were submitted in November 2022 than in November 2021. New Hampshire saw an 0.8% increase in the same period. These numbers are fairly high compared to other states, most of which saw decreases in business applications.
Certain cities stood out as well. Interestingly, none were in the states with the most residents searching to grow their small businesses. The top five cities looking to scale their companies were Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Minneapolis.
States Looking To Grow Specific Industries
Not all businesses follow the same growth patterns. Let’s look at where people were using the search phrase “how to grow X” to see what areas of the country want to grow businesses in different industries such as real estate, construction, and graphic design.
The most-searched phrase related to any industry was “how to grow a YouTube channel,” accounting for 73% of searches for business growth tips from 2020 to 2022. Ad revenue and sponsorships mean YouTube channels can be small businesses on their own. But other types of small businesses can also use YouTube to grow their brands, expand their customer bases, and even diversify their revenue streams.
The most YouTube growth searches per capita came from Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and Delaware — all of which are within the seven bottom U.S. states in terms of population. Meanwhile, residents in Arlington, Texas, made more of these searches than any other city.
While not as popular as searches about YouTube channel growth, searches for “how to grow a real estate business” were more common than the other industry searches we studied. Since 2018, these searches have increased by 1,053%. Perhaps that’s because the U.S. saw a record boom of new real estate agents during the COVID-19 pandemic when many people got laid off from their jobs. The hot seller’s market also likely enticed many potential agents seeking ample commission rates.
The most searches for growing a real estate business per million residents came from Rhode Island, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, and Montana. Meanwhile, the top cities making these searches were Cincinnati, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, and Cleveland. Aside from real estate, other popular business-growth queries had to do with business in the retail, construction, tech, graphic design, and digital marketing industries.
How To Grow a Small Business
In addition to where people searched for how to grow a business, we also wanted to know the answers to their questions. We surveyed over 1,000 business owners, top-level executives, and senior managers whose companies experienced hypergrowth to find the top advice for how to grow a small business.
When looking to scale operations, the successful business owners we surveyed said the best thing to do is to listen to customers and ensure they’re satisfied. They also said setting goals that align with your business vision and communicating with investors are equally important. Goals can help you define your focus and stay on track, while sharing concerns and issues with investors could help you get the support you need.
Even the most successful business owners and top-level executives have had their fair share of challenges. Of those we surveyed, 25% said they found developing a clear direction for their company’s growth a primary challenge. The next most common challenges they reported included acquiring new clients and finding good talent.
We also used our survey to find which industries are experiencing hypergrowth (when an organization’s annual growth rate exceeds 40%, compared to the typical rate of 20% or less).
The industry that experienced the most hypergrowth in the past year was information services and data processing, accounting for 27% of the businesses we studied. Second to that was the tech industry, and third was finance and insurance.
The Future of Small-business Growth
No matter how the economy twists and turns, we can count on entrepreneurs to continue to start and scale their endeavors. Whether they’re providing goods or services, these small businesses will continue to fill holes in the market, despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But some of these changes have also inspired entrepreneurs to start businesses, including real estate ventures. Now, owners of new and existing businesses are looking to grow.
States with smaller populations, like Wyoming and Vermont, made the list of top states searching to scale their small businesses. In particular, people have searched for how to grow their YouTube and real estate businesses in record droves over the last few years, pointing to more people entering these job fields. But if you’re looking to get an industry experiencing hypergrowth, information services and data processing might be the way to go.
We used Google Trends to collect search volume from 2018-2022 in the 50 states and 100 most populous cities. Additionally, we surveyed 1,010 business owners, top-level executives, and senior managers whose companies experienced hypergrowth. Of them, 57% were executive leaders or owners, and 43% were senior managers at their company; 62% were male, and 38% were female.
About Clarify Capital
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Fair Use Statement
If you appreciated our findings about searches related to small businesses, feel free to share them for any noncommercial purpose. We ask that you link back to our original post to credit our team of researchers.