Business Resources in Iowa
Find the best resources to help create your informal business structure (sole proprietorship or partnership), corporation (S corp or C corp), limited liability company (single-member LLC or multi-member LLC), or how to file a DBA in Iowa.
Use the following business resources in Iowa to learn how to choose the best LLC services, file the Certificate of Organization, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and decide whether you should be your own registered agent or if you should hire a third-party registered agent service.
Becoming an Entrepreneur in Iowa
Just Starting Out
Every Iowa business starts out with a great idea. To get inspiration, you can try our business idea generator that can suggest businesses for you based on your interests and lifestyle.
Once you've found the perfect idea, it's time to create a game plan for your business. This step helps lay a solid foundation for the future of your company. You can move on to planning out your business with our business plan generator or simply browse our selection of startup ideas. We also have several helpful guides for planning out your business:
Coming Up With a Name
One of the most important decisions you will make for your business is coming up with a name and then seeing if it is available in Iowa. We have several naming tools and guides to help you get started with finding the perfect name for your Iowa startup, small business, nonprofit or corporation.
- Iowa LLC Name Search
- Iowa Corporation Name Search
- Naming a Nonprofit in Iowa
- Business Name Generator
Different Types of Business Formation
A business structure refers to how a business is legally organized. The type of business structure you choose to form your business with can affect how your company is regulated, taxed, and more. Because of this, choosing the best structure for your business is an important decision to make. Below are guides on the different business structures you can choose to form your company so you can learn how to form a business that works best for you.
- Start a Business in Iowa
- Iowa LLC
- Iowa Corporation
- Iowa Nonprofits
- How Do You Become a Certified Woman-Owned Business in Iowa?
Forming Your Iowa Business
Now that you’ve created a business plan, found a name and chose your Iowa business structure, it's time to form your business. This process might seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. And if you want to save time and have someone else handle the paperwork, you can use one of our recommended services, like ZenBusiness, which will help to form your company for you or you can form it yourself using our helpful guides and tools.
This Iowa Checklist for Starting an LLC covers the necessary steps you need to take when you create your LLC.
Here are the required documents and forms you may need to help you get your business up and running in Iowa.
- Free Legal Forms
- How to Get an EIN
- What are Articles of Organization?
- What is an Operating Agreement?
- Iowa Certificate of Organization for Nonprofit
- Selecting Your Iowa Nonprofit Board of Directors
Highly Recommended Services for Your Business
Depending on the type of business structure your choose and how large your business is, you may also want to consider using the following services for your Iowa startup:
An Iowa registered agent is a person or business that sends and receives legal papers on behalf of your company. These documents include official correspondence like legal summons and state filing notices.
Iowa requires every business to nominate a registered agent when forming a small business. Your registered agent must be an Iowa resident or a corporation authorized to conduct business in that Iowa.
We also recommend hiring a professional registered agent service to provide you with peace of mind and help you stay compliant with the law.
Filing a “doing business as” (DBA) name, also known as a trade name or ficticious name, is an easy process that is achieved by registering a DBA with the State of Iowa.
You can probably think of a dozen different companies in Iowa whose brands play an important role in your daily or professional life. Maybe you only buy certain brands or prefer to buy your groceries at one supermarket chain over another. Your dedication to these companies is primarily a result of one thing: their branding. Our branding guides and tools will go over the importance of branding your small business and provide some tips for getting started.
- Logo Maker
- The Best Resources for Branding a Business
- How To Build A Brand (The Right Way) For Your Business
Financing Your Iowa Business
Small business finance is the raising and managing of funds to finance and operate a new small business. This includes banking, small business accounting, building business credit, and raising funds for your business.
When planning your Iowa business, you should determine what types of business funding options your company will need and when. Whether you are starting a low-cost business or starting a high-growth startup, knowing when to get funding and what kind of funding you need is important.
Setting Up a Bank Account
Opening a business checking account is one of the first things you will need to do as a new business. Business banking is a fundamental asset protection requirement for every business and, depending on your needs, may include checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and merchant accounts.
Every new and small business needs a business bank account to pay their business insurance, take care of payroll, collect money, and enroll with a merchant account to accept credit card payments.
Check out our guide on the Best Banks for Small Business for help finding a banking account for your business.
Getting a Business Credit Card
Small business credit cards are designed for professional use and provide a line of credit to small businesses while helping to maintain personal asset protection. It is crucial for small businesses to have a small business credit card.
Our guides will help you understand the importance of having a small business credit card and provide the steps for finding and applying for the best credit card for your business.
Finding Small Business Loans
Getting a small business loan is done by applying with a business lender, typically your bank or another lending institution, with the right documentation and your business plan.
A business loan can help to resolve cash flow problems, leverage growth opportunities, and even increase the value of a business. Making sure to plan for a loan ahead of time is extremely important, as is knowing the documentation needed by your lender when you do apply.
Small Business Financing for Female Entrepreneurs
Grants, loans, government contracts, investors, scholarships, advisors, tutorials — there are plenty of financial resources for female entrepreneurs and women leaders, and we’ll help you discover the best ones for you and your business.
Maintaining Your Small Business
Congratulations! Fewer than 14% of Americans have realized the dream of business ownership. To keep your Iowa business running, make sure you keep up with required government filings and maintain a clear record of all earnings and expenses.
Make Sure Your Business is Compliant
When you start a small business, you’ll need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to stay compliant.
Set Up Accounting and Bookkeeping
Having a business accountant will help you take advantage of tax benefits and potentially save you and your Iowa business a lot of money in taxes each year.
Finding a business accountant as soon as you start your business will ensure that you have the best advice from the very beginning.
Recommended: Hiring an accountant can save your company thousands of dollars in taxes each year. Get a free tax consultation with 1-800Accountant.
Set Up a Business Phone
Getting a business phone number is important for many businesses. Having a phone number for your customers to contact you with can go a long way in ensuring that your business is viewed as professional, trustworthy, and legitimate.
There are also different business phone services and answering services that can ensure that you are able to answer more than one call simultaneously and that all of your customers feel heard. Check out our different phone tools and guides to help your Iowa business set up phone services.
Build a Business Website
With growing technology, more and more businesses are going online. We believe all companies need a website regardless of their industry or size to keep up with the times.
So, how do you build a website? Luckily, technology has recently caught up with the massive demand for tools to simplify website creation. It’s never been easier to build your own website without the need for any web designer experience.
Our tools and guides provide an overview of the steps to build a website for your Iowa business as well as suggestions for which tools to use based on your business type and knowledge level.
- How to Build a Website in 2022
- How to Build a Website for Your Startup
- The Best Website Builders for Startup Businesses in 2022
Business Resources for Women
Starting your own business is no small feat; thankfully, there are many valuable resources dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs start and succeed. From woman-owned business certification to grants for female entrepreneurs, we’ll help you discover the women's business resources that will help you get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey.
Iowa Business Resources
Small Business Resources
Small Business Resources is a financial firm, however, it further helps clients by providing small business resources such as links to valuable financial tools specifically up-to-date tax, business and financial news articles, financial calculators, a tax calendar that contains important filing dates, federal and state tax links and a financial page. They also give you links so you can track your federal and state tax refunds.
Iowa City Chamber of Commerce
The Iowa City Chamber of Commerce is a network composed of more than 1,000 members; the organization aims to actively foster an excellent business environment through community and economic development. They serve the community by offering small business resources and tools to aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Iowa SBDC is a government agency that helps small business owners transform their business ideas into real business ventures. They will assist you in developing your concept and will advise you on how to translate your ideas into reality. They will also help you in the entire process of planning and launching your small business; you can even request free counseling if you want. Available business plan templates, forms, financial worksheets, how-to guides on making a marketing plan and strategic plan are also listed in their site.
Cherokee Area Economic Development
The Cherokee Area Economic Development is a government initiative with the main goal of helping entrepreneurs start a small business and overcome the many challenges of building one. They are available to assist both existing and new small businesses. The agency has also listed several resources which are available for free or at minimal cost.
Entrepreneurial Development Council
Incorporated in 2003, EDC is a community-sponsored business accelerator. EDC’s mission is to provide economic growth through the creation and expansion of high-impact Iowa businesses. From start-ups to well-established entities, EDC is focused on fostering innovation and creating vital and diversified entrepreneurial communities. EDC provides guided professional and business direction, networking and educational programs, and connection to qualified community and state resources. While working with both emerging and existing Iowa-based businesses, EDC supports the development and commercialization of new products, services and technologies.
Iowa Economic Development
Iowa Economic Development is a government association that aims to provide resources so that entrepreneurs can grow their businesses. The site has available resources in the form of PDFs, which cover topics such as environmental requirements, providers, funding programs, and many more. They also have a list of supporting content that will help you immensely.
Iowa Venture Capital Association
Iowa Venture Capital Association is a government initiative of Iowa with the goal of helping the startup community thrive in the state. To be able to do this, the association provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with state assistance, a list of accelerators and incubators, business resources and startup events.
SCORE is a non-profit organization made up of experienced and expert business professionals and consultants who came together to create a network that provides free mentorship and coaching to new entrepreneurs and small business owners across the United States. The goal of the organization is to educate young and budding entrepreneurs so that they can continue to promote economic development in the country.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency and the largest provider of small business resources and tools in the country. The aim of the agency is to assist both new and existing small business owners in the U.S. to start, manage and grow their enterprise. They also provide local assistance, loans and grants and business management training.
Iowa Business Growth
The Iowa Business Growth also known as the IBG is a partner organization of the SBA that executes the 504 loan program. The organization is fully dedicated to assisting small business owners in the state of Iowa with their funding needs. The IBG is a certified development company “CDC” that has assisted 650 Iowa small business loans to date.
The Iowa Center is an organization that specifically helps women, people of color, individuals with disabilities and U.S. veterans in applying for loans to start a small business. They offer business loans of up to $50,000, fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, no prepayment penalties and up to 5 year loan terms.
IA Source Link
IA Source Link provides numerous financial resources to support business growth through direct financial assistance and tax incentives. Some of the funding services they have are direct financial assistance, venture capital fund, tax incentives, angel/seed fund serving Iowa, revolving loan fund and a lot more.
Iowa Women’s Foundation
The Iowa Women’s Foundation is a gender focused support group that aims to empower women by offering numerous grants to help women and girls achieve their dreams. The organization has partnered with several institutions and government agencies to be able to provide financing support to women entrepreneurs.
Vault is a community of professionals mainly composed of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs, starters and creatives who think big and work together to improve the state of Iowa. The community inspires professionals and helps you get connected with the right people, opportunities, resources for your projects, and an alternative office space where you can work productively and in peace.
Explore More Business Resources
- What Is a Startup?
- How to Start a Startup
- How to Register a Business
- What Is an LLC?
- Woman-Owned Business Certification