Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Iowa (IA)

Starting your own business can be an exhilarating endeavor. It can help empower you in your work life and realize aspirations you didn’t even know you had. A successful business also has the opportunity to change their customers’ lives for the better and ultimately, make the world a better place. Sounds like a pretty noble goal, right?

If you are planning to open a business in Iowa, there are a lot of benefits that go along with operating in this state. Iowa is ranked 1st in lowest cost of living and 6th in both startups’ early survival rate and lowest business costs.

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Iowa’s Most Popular Businesses

When you want to open a business, you must first think of what kind of business you’re interested in. In Iowa, there are some fan-favorite businesses that you can choose from if you’re feeling stuck for an idea. Some popular ones are lawn care service, bait and tackle shops, campgrounds, or even drive-in movie theaters. At the end of the day, you want to choose a business that you are motivated by and interested in.

Planning Processes

When you are planning to open a business you need to go about the proper steps. These steps will ensure you are open to a legal and safe business for you and your customers.

1. Pick a name

To choose a business name in Iowa, you must keep in mind the rules, but don’t let these squash your creativity or stop you from opening the business of your dreams. Choosing a name is the first step in establishing a brand and vision for your business.

You will want to pick a name that can show off your values and give your customers a sneak peek of what to expect when they shop with you. The name that you end up with is the name that will be remembered and repeated by customers. It is the name that will be put on business cards and your website. You will want that name to mean something to you and to the store you are opening. The rules don’t have to be something to fear, and you should still give that list a name once over and pick your favorite one and see how it goes.

2.  Conduct market research

Conducting market research can help your business grow stronger. Through this research, you can see what your future customers will be looking for from a business like you and how your competition is gaining traffic and sales.

3.  Choose a structure

Choosing a business structure for your store can ensure you are safe from any liabilities and create a more credible name for yourself. Depending on what type of business you want to open, you should choose a structure that fully represents your business. This could be an LLC, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or non-profit.

Registering in Iowa

Once you can pick a proper business structure for your store, your next step is to register it in Iowa. When you are registering, the state may ask for some information such as your business’s name, your Employer Identification Number, formation documents, and the name of your registered agent who will handle your taxes for your business. Depending on your chosen structure, you may be asked for different documentation or certifications to keep your business credible.

It’s All About Location

Opening up a brick-and-mortar business means that you have to choose a location for your store to be in. You will want to pay attention to the foot traffic of the area, where you believe your customers will be, and word of mouth. In Iowa, cities like Des Moines and Dubuque could be a great starting point to look at. If you are planning to open a fully online store, all of Iowa is your oyster.

Focus on Banking

You will want to open up a separate banking account and credit card for the business. This will also help your own personal finances and affairs be separated from the business to keep you safe. Having separate accounts will also make tax season when it comes your way. To help make it even easier, you may want to look into a bank accounting software or worker to help keep track of your sales, spending, and taxes.

Insure Your Business

To help keep your business safe from any risks or liabilities, you may want to get an insurance policy set up for the store. Depending on what your store might expect, you could get Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, or Professional Liability Insurance.

However, if you do have one or more employees, the state of Iowa does require you to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Hiring Employees

Hiring employees can be a very exciting part of a growing business. It allows you to meet like-minded people while also finding people who are willing to share your vision and business values.

While you hire new people, you want to make sure you are going about it correctly. This just means that you are registered with the IRS for Employer Taxes and reporting all new hires to the state of Iowa.

Branding

One of the key ways to stand out from other businesses in your branding. This is how your customers and passer buyers will see and interpret your store. Figuring out your branding may take some insight into yourself and your goals as a business.

What do you want your brand to represent?
How do you want to be seen by your customers?

Asking yourself questions like these could help figure out your values and soon come to an idea for branding.

Next to branding itself, the making of a logo can be a very important step for your business. A logo is another form of branding as it represents your business with a simple picture or set of words. This logo will go on things like bags, price tags, your website, or signs, so you will want something that perfectly represents you.

Get Online

Having an online presence in our virtual world can help your customers find you and help your business grow. This could start with the making of a website. You can give information, pictures, values and even sell products straight from the site as well.

If you have an online store or not, social media is a great resource to not forget about. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are a growing business’s dream as they are great to reach both local and far customers.

Online Business

If you are planning to open a fully online store, this has probably already crossed your mind.

If you need help to make a perfect website or establish an online presence, companies like Ecwid are there to assist and help you on the road to success.

They can also help spread your site onto other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. With your products out on other sites, you are able to reach more customers while also getting more sales. Ecwid also has the ability to show you all your sales and inventory levels on one simple dashboard. They help to have an online store be more organized and easy for you. If having an online store is your goal, Ecwid is definitely an ecommerce solution to consider.

Marketing

While being online is extremely beneficial, it is the marketing that is behind it that helps make those sales. Depending on the size and goals of your business, $250 to $1,500 could be a good amount to set aside.

If you want to be offline, you could focus that budget towards business cards, signage, pamphlets, or community events you could attend.

On the other end of things, online marketing can look different. That budget could go to paying for ad space on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. It can also go into photography and videography. To mix online and offline, Google My Business is a great way to connect to local customers and give a short burst of information about your business as well.

Another good mix could be email and text message subscriptions. These can help create return customers.

All in all, we’re happy that you’re considering taking that exciting next step and opening your own business. Make it happen, Iowa!

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Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

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