August 21, 2019  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for Iowa Entrepreneurs  
  Iowa City, 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 Iowa City, Iowa

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

Are You Ready for Entrepreneurship?

Before quitting your day job, assess your entrepreneurial instincts and capabilities.

With so much at stake when you start a business, we strongly recommend you do the following before you proceed:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs in Iowa City. Listen closely to their experiences and see if you think you too can be successful.
  • We recommend reading Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. For aspiring new entrepreneurs, it's a must read article.
  • Seek the advice of somebody who knows you well. Ask them directly: Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Listen carefully to their answer, as they presumably know your strengths and weaknesses.

Iowa City, Iowa Demographic Information

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

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

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 2582
5-9 Employees 1197
10-19 Employees 780
20-49 Employees 570
50-99 Employees 150
100-249 Employees 78
250-499 Employees 24
500-999 Employees 3
1000+ Employees 15
All Iowa City Businesses 5399

As a new Iowa City entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Iowa City 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
Advertising Agencies 1
Ambulance Services 1
Amusement and Theme Parks 1
Amusement Arcades 1
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 2
Architectural Services 7
Armored Car Services 1
Art Dealers 5
Automobile Driving Schools 2
Automotive Exhaust System Repair 2
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 9
Automotive Transmission Repair 1
Baked Goods Stores 1
Barber Shops 1
Beauty Salons 30
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 1
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 3
Blood and Organ Banks 2
Book Publishers 2
Book Stores 6
Bowling Centers 1
Broom, Brush, and Mop Manufacturing 1
Building Inspection Services 1
Business and Secretarial Schools 1
Business Associations 10
Business to Business Electronic Markets 1
Cable and Other Program Distribution 1
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 2
Canvas and Related Product Mills 1
Car Washes 5
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 1
Caterers 1
Cemeteries and Crematories 1
Child and Youth Services 1
Child Day Care Services 39
Civic and Social Organizations 11
Claims Adjusting 2
Clothing Accessories Stores 3
Collection Agencies 1
Commercial Gravure Printing 1
Commercial Lithographic Printing 3
Commercial Photography 1
Commercial Screen Printing 3
Commodity Contracts Brokerage 1
Community Food Services 1
Computer Systems Design Services 6
Confectionery and Nut Stores 1
Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 1
Consumer Lending 1
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 3
Convenience Stores 3
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 1
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 1
Credit Unions 4
Custom Computer Programming Services 13
Dental Laboratories 4
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 1
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 1
Digital Printing 1
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 2
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 1
Discount Department Stores 3
Display Advertising 2
Document Preparation Services 1
Drafting Services 1
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 28
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 7
Educational Support Services 6
Electric Power Distribution 1
Electrical Contractors 20
Electronic Computer Manufacturing 1
Electronic Shopping 2
Elementary and Secondary Schools 2
Employment Placement Agencies 2
Engineering Services 14
Environmental Consulting Services 2
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 4
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 5
Family Clothing Stores 1
Family Planning Centers 2
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 4
Fine Arts Schools 5
Finish Carpentry Contractors 6
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 9
Flight Training 1
Floor Covering Stores 9
Flooring Contractors 5
Florists 4
Fluid Milk Manufacturing 1
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 1
Food Service Contractors 2
Footwear and Leather Goods Repair 1
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 1
Framing Contractors 12
Freight Transportation Arrangement 2
Full-Service Restaurants 71
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 2
Furniture Stores 5
General Automotive Repair 19
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 3
General Rental Centers 1
General Warehousing and Storage 1
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 8
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 4
Grantmaking Foundations 5
Graphic Design Services 1
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 1
Hardware Stores 2
Historical Sites 1
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 5
Home Centers 3
Home Health Care Services 8
Home Health Equipment Rental 1
Homes for the Elderly 1
Household Appliance Stores 5
Industrial Building Construction 1
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 45
Interior Design Services 1
Internet Service Providers 1
Investigation Services 1
Investment Advice 9
Janitorial Services 10
Jewelry Stores 5
Landscaping Services 17
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 9
Limited-Service Restaurants 49
Limousine Service 1
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores 1
Machine Shops 4
Mail-Order Houses 5
Manifold Business Forms Printing 1
Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 1
Marinas 1
Marketing Consulting Services 3
Masonry Contractors 4
Medical Laboratories 1
Men's Clothing Stores 3
Mobile Food Services 1
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 3
Motion Picture and Video Production 3
Motor Vehicle Towing 2
Motorcycle Dealers 3
Museums 1
Music Publishers 1
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 3
Nail Salons 1
Natural Gas Liquid Extraction 1
New Car Dealers 10
New Housing Operative Builders 8
News Dealers and Newsstands 1
Newspaper Publishers 4
Nonresidential Property Managers 5
Nursing Care Facilities 3
Office Administrative Services 6
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 3
Offices of Bank Holding Companies 1
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 10
Offices of Chiropractors 9
Offices of Dentists 33
Offices of Lawyers 44
Offices of Optometrists 4
Offices of Other Holding Companies 1
Offices of Podiatrists 4
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 4
Optical Goods Stores 2
Outdoor Power Equipment Stores 2
Packing and Crating 1
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 4
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 7
Passenger Car Rental 1
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 2
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 5
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 7
Photography Studios, Portrait 1
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 1
Plastics Bottle Manufacturing 1
Political Organizations 2
Polystyrene Foam Product Manufacturing 1
Portfolio Management 2
Professional Organizations 4
Quick Printing 1
Radio Networks 1
Radio Stations 2
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 1
Real Estate Credit 4
Recreational Vehicle Dealers 1
Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage 1
Reinsurance Carriers 2
Residential Property Managers 18
Residential Remodelers 16
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 3
Roofing Contractors 4
Rooming and Boarding Houses 16
Sales Financing 1
Savings Institutions 3
School and Employee Bus Transportation 1
Securities Brokerage 13
Security Guards and Patrol Services 5
Setup Paperboard Box Manufacturing 1
Shoe Stores 3
Siding Contractors 4
Sign Manufacturing 1
Site Preparation Contractors 1
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 15
Software Publishers 2
Solid Waste Collection 2
Sound Recording Studios 1
Sporting Goods Stores 8
Sports and Recreation Instruction 7
Tax Preparation Services 5
Taxi Service 1
Telemarketing Bureaus 2
Television Broadcasting 1
Temporary Help Services 10
Temporary Shelters 4
Testing Laboratories 1
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 2
Tire Dealers 4
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 3
Toilet Preparation Manufacturing 1
Travel Agencies 7
Used Car Dealers 5
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 4
Used Merchandise Stores 20
Vending Machine Operators 1
Veterinary Services 7
Video Tape and Disc Rental 6
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 3
Web Search Portals 1
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 10
Window Treatment Stores 1
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 3
Women's Clothing Stores 8

Naming the Company

A good company name can give a big boost to a new startup. It might seem like an easy thing to do, but there are many things to consider when naming a business.

Before you decide on a company name, run it by some prospective customers and see what they think. If they don't like it, it's probably a good idea to go back to the drawing board.

To get up to speed on what makes for a good company name, we encourage you to read this useful article: Branding Advice.

As a final piece of advice, remember that because you are planning on starting a business in Iowa City, it's very important that you make sure no other Iowa company is using the business name you want to use.

Raising Funding for Your Venture

Getting your Iowa City business the capital it needs to succeed is a difficult chore. Bootstrapping, which means growing the business without outside funding, is the best alternative, but that's not a viable option for many startup plans.

Take advantage of our many articles on raising capital, such as Business Cash Advances.

For Iowa City entrepreneurs with great ambition but a shortage of investment capital, browse our List of Iowa Angel Investors and our List of Iowa Venture Capital Firms.

Selling Tips

Being able to sell is critical to your business success. Whether you are focused on selling local customers in Iowa City or are selling to customers throughout Iowa, the United States or even the world, you have to be able to sell.

Not knowing how to sell can result in lost customers and minimal market share. Fortunately, we've got plenty of good advice to help you improve your selling skills.

Compensating Sales People is a good article to read, one of dozens in the Selling for Entrepreneurs section of our site.

Improving Your Entrepreneurial Skillset

Good entrepreneurs recognize that what they know now may not be enough to ensure their future success.

Given that you are starting a business in Iowa City, Iowa, you will want to take advantage of the many programs available at nearby Iowa universities, colleges and community colleges. It's also beneficial to see if there are any Iowa City networking organizations.

Never Give Up

You have a dream -- starting a business in Iowa City. To achieve your dream, you have to persevere, even when the odds are against you.

From this point on, you control your own destiny.

This site is all about helping entrepreneurs in Iowa City and elsewhere to achieve real success. We have a wealth of experience in business start-ups, financing, marketing, sales and more...and we've made all of our knowledge available to you.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Iowa City, Iowa

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

  • Resources for Iowa City, Iowa Entrepreneurs - Browse a variety of resources we've collected to assist Iowa City 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