10 Simple Steps
The most enthusiastic cheerleaders in the US (aside from maybe the Hawkeye squad) of business planning are entrepreneurs who’ve been through disasters and watched great ideas go down the proverbial toilet for the lack of it. A big emphasis on strategy and planning near conception dramatically increases your odds of both follow through and better profit margins.
Take Action: Seize upon our free and easy email-based Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide tons of other great tools along the way.
Your 2nd step covers a ton of ground, whether you can afford a law firm or opt for less expensive (but savvy) online incorporation providers that tuck a lot of red tape into their startup packages. First, you pick your brand’s legal entity or structure, then through the incorporation process you’ll secure the name by filing with the state in connection to the next two steps (taxes and licensing). Dig in like its fried food at the Iowa State Fair!
Take Action: As this part of starting a business can be rather sensitive, we’ve developed quick-guides for the most popular entities if you want to skip over to those.
Along with a low cost of living, low crime rates, great traffic, excellent employment rates and more, it’s not hard to see why they’re warm to businesses. Furthermore, did you know Des Moines is one of the wealthiest cities in America? Expect plenty of tax incentives, credits and breaks from the great state of Iowa relative to your industry, type of business structure and location.
Take Action: Start by visiting the Iowa Dept. of Revenue website’s Starting a Business section that takes you through the steps and introduces you to Iowa-specific tax rules.
So, without knowing what kind of business you’re going into, remember there’s friendly and then there’s Iowa Friendly. For most new businesses it’s like calmly navigating the Missouri river in Sioux City. Try it sometime.
Your financials are the footwork of your business dance, either you’re in-step or fumbling all over the place. To do it right, first you find a great banking institution and create dedicated/branded biz-accounts separate from your personal identity/accounts. Then it’s a matter of software tools.
Are you headed towards the corn capital, Cedar Rapids, or the biz-hub of Sioux City? Perhaps you’re more into the mid-size towns like Waterloo or Iowa City for its ISU-infused entertainment industry? Don’t forget about the networks of AMAZING small towns like Britt, Wesley, Forest City, or Ashton with 5,000 or less. These aren’t suburbs in the California sense, but little individual and unique slices of Iowan culture.
Take Action: Listen, we know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
Guess what the actual Field of Dreams (yes from the Kevin Costner movie) is in Dyersville, Iowa. The sky’s the limit and there’s no end to the potential funding sources at your disposal along with digital social lending and CrowdFunding platforms. Get hungry, get active, and leverage what’s already out there.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Scotcheroos and RAGBRAI (Google it). You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
No one’s saying you have to have a website that’s the internet equivalent of a large from Fong’s Pizza. It just needs to be functional, user-friendly (read: easy to use), and provide people with both a way to investigate and engage your brand.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many yet. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.
Do you know why they have bacon festivals in Iowa? Because Iowa is the #1 hog-producer in the US, that’s why. Well, and because bacon and ice cream go so well together and Iowans have claimed the ice cream capital as well (Le Mars, Iowa). Point being, market where your people are!
Take Action: Half the wasted marketing money out there being thrown away by new businesses goes to flashy new methods that have no real user-base yet. Go where the people are, then find your niche and make your brand’s voice heard.
As you continue your entrepreneurial journey, please keep Startup Savant in mind as one of your reliable sources for fellow change-maker insight, motivation, as well as savvy new tools making waves in our community.
Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from ambitious professionals like you.
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