Business Friendly Cities?

Recently at Starbucks, I mentioned that I had a “Lucky Dozen” alert on my iPhone showing I had earned a free drink or food item. The barista looked at me and said that what sounded really good was Dunken Donuts. While my three pump, non-fat, Chai was being prepared (free of charge due to their rewards program), we talked about the upcoming Dunken Donuts return to Colorado. For those not in Colorado, we are a Dunken Donuts desert. While we had these mythical places in my youth, they have long since disappeared along out mountainous background to places like Florida, DC, and New York.

It is rumored (well mostly confirmed) that several will be opening up next year bringing back the donuts we remember from our youth. However, much like Ikea, Steak and Shake, and Krispy Kreme, rather than opening in Denver proper, it is reported that these donut havens will be opening in South Metro Denver in the lands of Lone Tree and Centennial. So why when Denver is the capital of the state, did Dunkin Donuts and others choose to open down south? Business friendly policies.

While Denver is known for many things – we have Mile High Stadium, downtown, and Coors Field – unfortunately, it isn’t known for being particularly business friendly. So what makes a city business friendly? Here are my top two things:

1. Business Friendly Tax and Licensing Policies. Tax and licensing policies can make all the difference between a city being easy to work with and not being easy to work with. In business friendly cities, tax and licensing policies make sense. To open a business, the business owner doesn’t need to worry about filing tons of forms or worry about complying with taxes, rules and regulations to open a standard business (one look on Denver’s business page and you can find that businesses from a-z are regulated). Business owners need to worry about running their business.
2. Business Friendly Transportation. If you want to locate your business downtown, you have to worry about parking for employees. There are more options for public transportation, but there are only about 83,000 rides taken on pubic transportation each year in the Denver Metro Area – showing that most people still drive. If you are located in South Denver, parking comes with the buildings in most cases. There are no additional fees and less gridlock.

Whenever I work with clients, one of the first questions I ask is where the business is going to be located. When you are thinking of where to locate your business, consider the following:

1. Do you employees or clients need access to easy parking?
2. How many taxes will you need to pay?
3. What are the licensing fees?
4. What are the regulations for your business type?
5. Are your employees going to live in the same city where you are located?
6. Are there tax breaks for the city you are looking at?
7. Does the city tend to have business friendly policies?
8. Are other businesses moving into the city or away from it?
9. Are there other cities nearby that have better policies?

Where your business is located can have a huge impact on the bottom line of the business (and sanity of the owner).

About Elizabeth Lewis
Elizabeth Lewis is a small business attorney, mother of two, and owner of the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, PC. She works with small businesses from start up to dissolution and everything in between. In addition to running her law firm, she teaches small business owners throughout the state at various business groups, is part of the Colorado Bar Association's Business Law Section, and several chambers. Legal Background Following the advice that she has given hundreds, Denver Business Attorney Elizabeth Lewis became a small business owner in January of 2010. She opened the doors to her own law firm, the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C. which specializes in business, intellectual property, technology, and online law. Prior to starting her own business law firm, she worked for the Law Firm of David A. Sprecace, P.C., where she developed the firm’s business and technology law practice. She also has extensive experience in these fields from working under the lead attorney at the CU Technology Transfer Office where she wrote licensing, non-compete, employment, and business contracts. IT Background Prior to attending CU Law School, Elizabeth worked at Experian, one of the largest credit bureaus in the country providing IT support as part of the email-marketing department. She holds a Masters of Science in Computer Information Technology, gained while working in system administration prior to law school. She continues to be active in the IT community by attending conferences, classes, and events to learn about new technology before it hits the internet. Education Elizabeth Lewis is a native of Denver, Colorado. She has attended Holy Family High School, Metropolitan State College of Denver (Bachelor of Arts), and Regis University (Masters of Science). She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado Law School and continues her legal education taking Continuing Legal Education classes from the Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association on a regular basis. Additional Activities Elizabeth regularly participates in the Denver Bar Association and Colorado Bar Association. She recently was named the head of the e-Commerce Section of the Business Law Section, Colorado Bar Association. Elizabeth is active in her community and hold memberships with the Fax Partnership, South Metro Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Bar Association, and Denver Bar Association. She teaches regularly at locations throughout the Front Range. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family which includes her husband, two sons, and dog and enjoying all that her home state has to offer, including hiking, biking, enjoying over 300 days of sunshine a year, and most recently crossfit.

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