August 21, 2019  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for Iowa Entrepreneurs  
  Des Moines, Iowa Resources for Entrepreneurs is a daily online magazine covering small business news. We help entrepreneurs transform ideas and innovations into greatness.

Starting a Business in Des Moines, Iowa

Thinking about starting a business in Des Moines, Iowa? This step-by-step guide walks you through the major decisions you should consider before opening a new business in Des Moines.

Which Business to Choose?

Choosing a business that is right for you is very important. If you are struggling with what type of business to start, read Good Business Ideas.

For step-by-step instructions on starting a variety of business types, visit the Good Businesses to Start section of our site. For example, you might be interested in our Opening a Soda Fountain Shops Business guide or our How to Start a Woolen Fabrics Retail Business guide.

Don't forget that you are starting a business in Des Moines. Some businesses will do better in Des Moines than others. Only by spending some time analyzing Des Moines demographics can you decide if there will be strong demand for your business idea.

Des Moines, Iowa Demographic Information

Des Moines has an active business community that includes small businesses, mid-sized businesses and large businesses.

To give you a better feel for Des Moines demographics for small businesses, we have tabulated the small business sizes, based on number of employees, for business in Des Moines.

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 24339
5-9 Employees 10314
10-19 Employees 7740
20-49 Employees 5397
50-99 Employees 2124
100-249 Employees 1413
250-499 Employees 342
500-999 Employees 225
1000+ Employees 108
All Des Moines Businesses 52002

As a new Des Moines entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Des Moines for each business category. By looking at this chart, you can get a general sense for how much competition there is in the business niche that you are pursuing.

Business Type # of
Adhesive Manufacturing 2
Advertising Agencies 10
Ambulance Services 2
Amusement and Theme Parks 1
Amusement Arcades 1
Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering 5
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 4
Apprenticeship Training 5
Architectural Services 25
Armored Car Services 2
Art Dealers 4
Automotive Exhaust System Repair 5
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 7
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 50
Automotive Transmission Repair 5
Baked Goods Stores 4
Barber Shops 4
Beauty Salons 59
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 2
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 6
Blood and Organ Banks 3
Boat Dealers 3
Book Publishers 1
Book Stores 10
Bottled Water Manufacturing 1
Bowling Centers 6
Building Inspection Services 1
Business Associations 34
Business to Business Electronic Markets 1
Cable and Other Program Distribution 4
Cafeterias 5
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 1
Canvas and Related Product Mills 1
Car Washes 15
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 11
Casinos (except Casino Hotels) 1
Caterers 10
Cemeteries and Crematories 4
Charter Bus Industry 3
Child and Youth Services 6
Child Day Care Services 40
Children's and Infants' Clothing Stores 4
Civic and Social Organizations 47
Claims Adjusting 4
Clothing Accessories Stores 5
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 10
Collection Agencies 4
Commercial Bakeries 2
Commercial Flexographic Printing 3
Commercial Lithographic Printing 22
Commercial Photography 9
Commercial Screen Printing 1
Commodity Contracts Brokerage 2
Community Food Services 1
Computer and Software Stores 2
Computer Systems Design Services 23
Computer Training 2
Confectionery and Nut Stores 1
Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 1
Construction Machinery Manufacturing 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 5
Consumer Lending 34
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 8
Convenience Stores 5
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 8
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 1
Couriers 23
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 4
Credit Card Issuing 1
Credit Unions 29
Custom Computer Programming Services 22
Custom Roll Forming 1
Dental Laboratories 8
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 8
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 2
Digital Printing 1
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 21
Direct Mail Advertising 4
Direct Title Insurance Carriers 1
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 1
Discount Department Stores 5
Display Advertising 2
Document Preparation Services 9
Drafting Services 1
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 80
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 12
Educational Support Services 4
Electric Power Distribution 14
Electrical Contractors 36
Electron Tube Manufacturing 1
Electronic Shopping 1
Elementary and Secondary Schools 8
Emergency and Other Relief Services 1
Employment Placement Agencies 9
Engineering Services 20
Envelope Manufacturing 1
Environmental Consulting Services 3
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 4
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 8
Facilities Support Services 4
Family Clothing Stores 22
Family Planning Centers 4
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 2
Fats and Oils Refining and Blending 2
Fine Arts Schools 14
Finish Carpentry Contractors 26
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 12
Flight Training 1
Floor Covering Stores 10
Flooring Contractors 10
Florists 16
Fluid Milk Manufacturing 2
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 4
Food Product Machinery Manufacturing 1
Food Service Contractors 29
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 1
Framing Contractors 17
Freight Transportation Arrangement 7
Full-Service Restaurants 140
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 9
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 3
Furniture Stores 17
General Automotive Repair 55
General Freight Trucking, Local 19
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 8
General Rental Centers 7
General Warehousing and Storage 9
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 31
Glass and Glazing Contractors 9
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 9
Grantmaking Foundations 14
Graphic Design Services 15
Hand and Edge Tool Manufacturing 2
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 6
Hardware Stores 15
Hat, Cap, and Millinery Manufacturing 1
Hazardous Waste Collection 1
Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal 3
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 6
Home Centers 4
Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers 6
Home Health Care Services 6
Homes for the Elderly 3
Household Appliance Stores 6
Human Rights Organizations 13
Hunting and Trapping 2
Industrial Launderers 4
Industrial Mold Manufacturing 1
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 96
Interior Design Services 9
International Trade Financing 2
Internet Publishing and Broadcasting 3
Internet Service Providers 4
Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation 1
Investigation Services 5
Investment Advice 18
Janitorial Services 62
Jewelry (except Costume) Manufacturing 1
Jewelry Stores 27
Junior Colleges 2
Kidney Dialysis Centers 2
Land Subdivision 6
Landscape Architectural Services 5
Landscaping Services 49
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 9
Limited-Service Restaurants 172
Limousine Service 2
Livestock Merchant Wholesalers 1
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 9
Locksmiths 3
Luggage Manufacturing 1
Machine Shops 9
Mail-Order Houses 2
Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 2
Marinas 1
Marketing Consulting Services 4
Marking Device Manufacturing 1
Masonry Contractors 8
Materials Recovery Facilities 3
Meat Markets 1
Media Representatives 3
Medical Laboratories 1
Men's Clothing Stores 5
Metal Window and Door Manufacturing 2
Miscellaneous Intermediation 3
Mobile Food Services 1
Monetary Authorities-Central Bank 1
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 5
Motion Picture and Video Distribution 1
Motion Picture and Video Production 7
Motor and Generator Manufacturing 1
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing 1
Motor Vehicle Towing 6
Motorcycle Dealers 5
Museums 5
Musical Groups and Artists 4
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 8
Nail Salons 8
New Car Dealers 18
New Housing Operative Builders 4
News Syndicates 1
Newspaper Publishers 3
Nonresidential Property Managers 7
Nursing Care Facilities 12
Office Administrative Services 17
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 9
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 6
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 26
Offices of Chiropractors 17
Offices of Dentists 85
Offices of Lawyers 183
Offices of Optometrists 13
Offices of Other Holding Companies 7
Offices of Podiatrists 6
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 14
One-Hour Photofinishing 1
Ophthalmic Goods Manufacturing 1
Optical Goods Stores 19
Outdoor Power Equipment Stores 4
Packaging and Labeling Services 1
Paging 1
Paint and Coating Manufacturing 4
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 8
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 39
Parking Lots and Garages 11
Passenger Car Leasing 1
Passenger Car Rental 6
Periodical Publishers 11
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 8
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 3
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 6
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 28
Photography Studios, Portrait 9
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil 2
Political Organizations 12
Polystyrene Foam Product Manufacturing 1
Portfolio Management 6
Power-Driven Handtool Manufacturing 1
Prepress Services 2
Printing Ink Manufacturing 4
Private Mail Centers 1
Professional Employer Organizations 2
Professional Organizations 21
Public Relations Agencies 11
Quick Printing 13
Radio Networks 2
Radio Stations 12
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 4
Real Estate Credit 18
Real Estate Investment Trusts 1
Recreational Vehicle Dealers 7
Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage 3
Remediation Services 4
Rendering and Meat Byproduct Processing 1
Repossession Services 2
Residential Property Managers 20
Residential Remodelers 55
Retail Bakeries 4
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 5
Roofing Contractors 18
Rooming and Boarding Houses 7
Sales Financing 3
Savings Institutions 10
Scheduled Freight Air Transportation 1
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 10
Secondary Market Financing 1
Securities Brokerage 29
Security Guards and Patrol Services 9
Septic Tank and Related Services 3
Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing 2
Ship Building and Repairing 1
Shoe Stores 22
Siding Contractors 6
Sign Manufacturing 6
Site Preparation Contractors 11
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 40
Soap and Other Detergent Manufacturing 1
Soft Drink Manufacturing 1
Software Publishers 3
Solid Waste Collection 6
Solid Waste Landfill 2
Soybean Processing 2
Sporting Goods Stores 16
Sports and Recreation Instruction 3
Sports Teams and Clubs 1
Tax Preparation Services 18
Taxi Service 1
Telecommunications Resellers 1
Telemarketing Bureaus 3
Telephone Answering Services 2
Television Broadcasting 3
Temporary Help Services 23
Temporary Shelters 10
Testing Laboratories 3
Textile Bag Mills 1
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 3
Tile and Terrazzo Contractors 6
Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers 6
Tire Dealers 23
Tire Manufacturing (except Retreading) 2
Tire Retreading 1
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 1
Tobacco Stores 4
Toilet Preparation Manufacturing 1
Tradebinding and Related Work 4
Translation and Interpretation Services 4
Travel Agencies 14
Truck Trailer Manufacturing 1
Used Car Dealers 35
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 6
Used Merchandise Stores 19
Vending Machine Operators 9
Veterinary Services 22
Video Tape and Disc Rental 18
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 16
Voluntary Health Organizations 5
Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters 3
Water Supply and Irrigation Systems 1
Weft Knit Fabric Mills 1
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 35
Window Treatment Stores 1
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 26
Women's Clothing Stores 18
Wood Container and Pallet Manufacturing 2
Wood Window and Door Manufacturing 2
Zoos and Botanical Gardens 1

The Role of the Business Plan

Writing a business plan is vital in laying a solid foundation for your business success. Indeed, a business plan is a written description of the future you envision for your business. Not having a business plan will greatly reduce your chances of business success.

If you want more information on writing business plans, we recommend reading Business Plan Contests. You should also take advantage of free counseling sessions provided by your local SCORE chapter in Iowa.

Raising Funding for Your Startup

Getting your Des Moines business the capital it needs to succeed requires strong organization skills and perseverance. The reality is that there is very little funding available for new small businesses, and you have to explore every possible alternative.

Recognizing this challenge, this site contains dozens of articles on raising money, including one we recommend entitled How Equity Dilution Works.

For Des Moines entrepreneurs in need of startup financing, check out our List of Iowa Angel Investors and our List of Iowa Venture Capital Firms.

Letting the World Know You Exist

Whether your goal is to attract Des Moines customers or you plan on selling elsewhere, you'll need to have a good marketing plan.

You can learn quite a bit about marketing on our site. Pros and Cons of Advertising is an article that will stimulate a few thoughts on your marketing plan. That's just a sampling of the many useful articles we have on Marketing a Small Business.

The Art of Selling

Do you know how to sell? In order to attract customers to your new Des Moines business, you need to focus on sales.

Good selling involves demonstrating that your wares meet your customer's needs. Fortunately, we've got plenty of good advice to help you improve your selling skills.

Hiring Telemarketing Firms to Generate Sales Leads is worth reading, as it may give you some good ideas on how to sell your products or services. We have many more good articles on selling that you may enjoy reading.

What's Next?

As an entrepreneur in Des Moines, you won't be working for the boss anymore. You are the boss.

Owning your own business will be a daunting task, but you can do it.

This site is all about helping entrepreneurs in Des Moines and elsewhere to achieve real success. We believe entrepreneurship is an amazing engine for job creation in Des Moines, neighborhood development and overall economic health.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Des Moines, Iowa

Here are more links that we believe will help you be successful in starting a business in Des Moines.

  • Resources for Des Moines, Iowa Entrepreneurs - Browse a variety of resources we've collected to assist Des Moines entrepreneurs.
  • Iowa Entrepreneurial Resources - We've gathered state-level entrepreneurial resources to help new entrepreneurs who are based in Iowa.
  • Iowa Small Business Development Center - The Iowa SBDC conducts research, counsels, and trains business people in management, financing, and operating small businesses. They provide comprehensive information services and access to experts in a variety of fields. This is a great resource for Iowa entrepreneurs!



Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Buying a Business

Writing a Business Plan

Raising Money


Small Business Marketing

Advertising Advice

Public Relations -

Customer Service Tips

Entrepreneurial Selling

Workplace Safety