If you're looking to open a new branch office or a second retail location, Phoenix, AZ, is tops among large U.S. cities and Las Vegas, NV, among smaller cities for starting or growing a business. So says the annual report by Inc. Magazine.
Other large cities that are fertile grounds for start-ups include Salt Lake City, UT; Atlanta, GA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; and Indianapolis, IN. Small cities following Las Vegas were Fargo, ND; Sioux Falls, SD; Reno, NV; and Austin, TX.
Unless you have very deep pockets, you'd better not open shop in Manhattan, NY; Paris, France; or Sydney, Australia. Downtown commercial rental prices there are the three highest in the world: $700 per square foot on New York's East 57th St.; $560 on Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris, and $446 in Sydney's Pitt Street Mall.
EXPECT ENCORE FOR POSTAL RATE HIKE
It's likely to be déjà vu all over again for postal rates in June. That's when the U.S. Postal Service is expected to request another rate hike, less than six months after the January 7 boost of three percent on first class and 14 percent for catalogs.
The USPS's voracious appetite for higher rates has not protected it from a projected $500 million shortfall in 2001. As a result there is mounting demand for fully privatizing the department.
FAREWELL OZZIE AND HARRIET
In 1972 the most common U.S. household (45 percent) was married with children. Today that share is only 26 percent and most frequently seen (32 percent) is the unmarried household couple with no children.
The remainder of households today includes 30 percent married but childless and 12 percent not married but with children.
FIRST IT WAS E-COMMERCE, NOW M-COMMERCE?
Many customers like a combination of online and walk-in store shopping. They walk into a traditional store to shop around, find what they want and then compare prices online by whipping out a cell phone and tapping a few keys. A few more taps and the item's bought online.
It's being called m-commerce or mobile commerce. Consumers want the best of both worlds so they turn to retailers such as Kmart and Best Buy who set up Web kiosks in their stores and promote broad services including touch-and-feel shopping, buying online and returns at store counters.
HEALTH CARE COST NEW CRISIS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
An estimated 14 percent health care cost increase for small business poses a crisis, says the National Federation of Independent Business. The increase is more than three times that of inflation and will force four of 10 small business employers to raise employee contributions this year. That's twice as many as last year.
Of 40 million Americans without health insurance, six of 10 live in households headed by individuals who own or work for a small business.
FEWER BUT LARGER, MORE UP-SCALE HOMES
Although single-family housing starts were down four percent in November, many of those that are being built are going upscale with buyers demanding larger homes despite smaller families and smaller lots.
Builders are responding with more character in homes including nooks and crannies, cornices and other touches of European flavor. Kitchens are getting walk-in pantries, extra-long counters and island work tops.
The average house size continues increasing, up seven percent in the last decade to 2,265 square feet. Prices? There's a tremendous difference across the country. Annual cost of owning and maintaining a home is highest in San Jose, CA, ($63,828) and lowest in Hobbs, NM ($10,749).