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A Guide to Starting a Small Business in Iowa

Starting a Business Guide

May 24, 2023

We’ve all heard the quote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s the goal of many — especially entrepreneurs — to do work that you enjoy, work that feels meaningful, but that doesn’t feel like work. When you start a business, you know it’s going to be late nights and early mornings and that success comes after many hours of planning and preparation. However, as a small business owner, creating something successful — stemming from a passion or cause that you believe in — that doesn’t feel like work, is the end goal for many.

In DSM, our small businesses and startups are what sets the region apart, offering residents and visitors something new to discover here. At the Greater Des Moines Partnership, helping small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed is a priority. The Partnership’s “How to Start a Business Checklist,” as well as the many other resources in our Small Business Hub help would-be small business owners navigate their startup journey. The Checklist includes items that each of the businesses listed above and many others need to consider, including:

  • Finding an attorney
  • Registering your business
  • Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Obtaining a sales tax number
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Finding an accountant
  • Setting up business insurance
  • Completing the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report

10-Step Guide

Thanks to IASourceLink’s “Start a Business in Iowa” guide, small business owners can also learn from 10 steps to help them get started as an entrepreneur. These steps include:

  • Evaluating the business idea
  • Writing a business plan
  • Registering your business
  • Registering for tax permits
  • Registering for additional licensing
  • Getting your business online
  • Choosing a business location
  • Raising capital
  • Hiring employees
  • Taking action

Once you consider each of these 10 steps, you’ll be well on your way to being a successful entrepreneur. Laying the foundation for your new business to scale and grow will allow you to hit the ground running, and while there will be challenges that arise here and there, you’ll have laid the groundwork for a smooth transition into business ownership.

In the coming weeks, we’ll lay out more information on industry-specific guides for creating an online business, a nonprofit, a daycare or a food truck. Stay tuned to learn tips and tricks to help you start and scale your business idea. You can also learn tips by attending The Partnership’s Top Five for Small Business series, which has covered topics including “Top Five Ways to Reach Your Most Ambitious Goals + Achieve the Lifestyle You Desire,” “Top Five Ways to Interview The Right Way + Find the Right People” and “Top Five Tips to Understand Payroll.” Dates and times for upcoming Top Five events can be found here.

If you have questions about becoming an entrepreneur in DSM, reach out Diana Wright, Startup Community Builder at The Partnership, at info@dsmpartnership.com.

Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.

Meg Schneider

Meg Schneider is a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level executives in successful nonprofit organizations.