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Three Reasons Small Businesses Thrive in DSM USA

Des Moines Businesses Small Business Success

November 14, 2017

Owning or starting a business is no small feat, and growing your small business takes a lot of hard work, dedication and support. Some communities are better at providing support for small businesses than others, and Greater Des Moines (DSM) is one that really excels. Anyone who has kept up with DSM is well aware of the accolades we’ve received for our businesses climate, community pride and friendly culture, one of my favorites being that CNBC listed DSM as #9 on its 2016 list of Best Places to Start a Business.

So how has DSM managed to become a city where small businesses thrive? It all comes down to community support, which I believe is demonstrated in three ways.

Organizations Foster Collaboration

For starters, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Iowa district office is based here in DSM. This is a big advantage when you consider the numerous learning opportunities and resources for small businesses that are just getting started or trying to expand. Small businesses in the metro have easy access not only to SBA programming, but also to resources offered through the local Small Business Development Center, which has worked with more than 15,000 clients since 2012, and Iowa Center for Economic Success, another organization dedicated to helping Iowa business owners achieve financial success.

And I haven’t even begun to mention the professional associations and organizations operating in the metro. From the numerous small business resources offered through the Greater Des Moines Partnership to specific niche organizations to get involved with, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners or FemCity for women-owned businesses, or business development organizations such as SCORE, you are sure to find the perfect fit for your needs in DSM.

Local Businesses Help Each Other

DSM-based organizations are proud to be locally owned and understand the importance of supporting other local businesses. For a business owner, one benefit of working with other local businesses is the relationships. Because they’re built with someone else who also lives and works here, these relationships help give you a strong community feel where you trust that your partners have really become a part of your team.

Working for a locally owned company myself, this is the approach we take with all of our small business customers. We’re not just a lender or banker to our clients — we’re their advisor and advocate, looking out for their best interests and helping them achieve business success. This culture is not necessarily mimicked in other cities where a small fish in the big pond may have a harder time finding supportive partners that are truly looking out for them.

No Shortage of Good Business Partners and Industry Experts

In my role, my primary goal is to help small businesses obtain financing so they can acquire, start or expand their business. What I’ve found working with small businesses of all types is that while finding a financing partner often comes first, business owners then look to me to help them line up the rest of their “team” of consultants, advisors, etc.

The best thing about this part of my job is that there are many, many talented professionals in DSM that I can direct clients to. There’s a misconception that you have to go to a major hub to find the best experts to help you run your business; this is not the case. In fact, local experts have a simple, but distinct, advantage: They know the city and community, opportunities and challenges for businesses here, and how to help you navigate. And when they work at locally owned companies as well, you know that the big decisions — the ones small businesses rely on — are also made here in DSM, by people who understand your business needs and situation. 

While the secret to finding success as a small business depends on many factors, having a supportive professional and business community really helps. Many small businesses have found that support here in DSM, and I believe you will too.

Learn about other “How to Start a Business” resources in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in DSM.

Becky Fluegge

Becky Fluegge is vice president and SBA lending manager at Bankers Trust. With more than 20 years in the commercial lending industry, she has helped many small businesses secure the funding they need to be successful.