5.  Knoxville, Tenn.

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Knoxville gets a high grade as a place to open a business. Small business owners said the city is also an affordable place to live.

"Tennessee has no state income tax. That really helps small businesses," said one business owner.

"It's also very easy to get a business license in Knoxville," wrote another respondent.

First published August 19, 2015: 1:44 PM ET
Methodology: Thumbtack polled its users in December 2014; 18,000 small businesses in its database of 150,000 active monthly users responded. Entrepreneurs from all 50 states replied, but the ranking excluded 14 states that didn't meet the threshold of receiving at least 50 responses.