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).