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

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

What Business Are You Starting?

Choosing a business that is right for you is very important. We recommend that you read Free Business Ideas.

For in-depth how-to guides on how to start specific businesses, browse our Good Businesses to Start section of our site. For example, you might be interested in our Starting a Paintball Facility guide or our Starting a Lumber Wholesale & Manufacturers Business guide.

Remember that you are starting a business in Waterloo. The business you want to start may already be well-represented in Waterloo. Study Waterloo demographics and do a competitive analysis as part of your startup planning process.

Waterloo, Iowa Demographic Information

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

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

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 22563
5-9 Employees 11934
10-19 Employees 8559
20-49 Employees 5724
50-99 Employees 2241
100-249 Employees 1107
250-499 Employees 189
500-999 Employees 135
1000+ Employees 162
All Waterloo Businesses 52614

As a new Waterloo entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Waterloo 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 5
Amusement and Theme Parks 1
Amusement Arcades 1
Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering 2
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 2
Architectural Services 3
Armored Car Services 1
Art Dealers 2
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 3
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 18
Automotive Transmission Repair 2
Baked Goods Stores 3
Barber Shops 2
Beauty Salons 25
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 3
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 3
Boat Dealers 1
Book Stores 3
Bowling Centers 3
Business Associations 4
Cable and Other Program Distribution 1
Cafeterias 4
Canvas and Related Product Mills 2
Car Washes 8
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 2
Caterers 1
Cemeteries and Crematories 5
Charter Bus Industry 2
Child and Youth Services 3
Child Day Care Services 13
Civic and Social Organizations 16
Claims Adjusting 1
Clothing Accessories Stores 2
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 2
Collection Agencies 2
Commercial Bakeries 1
Commercial Lithographic Printing 3
Commercial Photography 2
Commercial Screen Printing 2
Community Food Services 1
Computer and Software Stores 2
Computer Facilities Management Services 1
Computer Systems Design Services 3
Concrete Block and Brick Manufacturing 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 2
Consumer Lending 5
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 2
Convenience Stores 4
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 2
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 1
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 1
Couriers 7
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 1
Credit Bureaus 1
Credit Unions 19
Custom Computer Programming Services 3
Dental Laboratories 4
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 1
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 1
Discount Department Stores 1
Display Advertising 2
Document Preparation Services 2
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 33
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 11
Educational Support Services 1
Electric Power Distribution 3
Electrical Contractors 12
Elementary and Secondary Schools 16
Emergency and Other Relief Services 1
Employment Placement Agencies 4
Engineering Services 8
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 1
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 4
Family Clothing Stores 7
Farm Management Services 1
Farm Product Warehousing and Storage 1
Fine Arts Schools 2
Finish Carpentry Contractors 4
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 6
Floor Covering Stores 5
Flooring Contractors 5
Florists 2
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 4
Food Service Contractors 9
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 1
Framing Contractors 2
Freight Transportation Arrangement 2
Fruit and Vegetable Markets 1
Full-Service Restaurants 53
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 8
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 3
Furniture Stores 9
General Automotive Repair 16
General Freight Trucking, Local 5
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 2
General Rental Centers 2
General Warehousing and Storage 4
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 9
Glass and Glazing Contractors 2
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 3
Grantmaking Foundations 4
Graphic Design Services 1
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 1
Hardware Stores 3
Historical Sites 1
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 7
Home Centers 4
Home Health Care Services 3
Home Health Equipment Rental 1
Homes for the Elderly 1
Household Appliance Stores 4
Human Rights Organizations 1
Industrial Building Construction 2
Industrial Launderers 4
Industrial Pattern Manufacturing 2
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 52
Interior Design Services 2
Investigation Services 2
Investment Advice 5
Iron and Steel Mills 1
Iron Foundries 2
Janitorial Services 23
Jewelry Stores 7
Kidney Dialysis Centers 1
Land Subdivision 1
Landscape Architectural Services 2
Landscaping Services 13
Leather and Hide Tanning and Finishing 1
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 4
Limited-Service Restaurants 45
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 2
Locksmiths 2
Machine Shops 7
Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 3
Marketing Consulting Services 2
Marking Device Manufacturing 1
Masonry Contractors 7
Meat Processed from Carcasses 2
Men's Clothing Stores 3
Metal Heat Treating 2
Mobile Food Services 1
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 3
Motor Vehicle Towing 3
Motorcycle Dealers 4
Museums 3
Musical Groups and Artists 1
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 1
Nail Salons 1
Natural Gas Distribution 1
New Car Dealers 5
New Housing Operative Builders 1
Newspaper Publishers 1
Nonresidential Property Managers 2
Nursing Care Facilities 6
Office Administrative Services 1
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 3
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 2
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 8
Offices of Chiropractors 11
Offices of Dentists 36
Offices of Lawyers 41
Offices of Optometrists 4
Offices of Other Holding Companies 2
Offices of Podiatrists 3
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 4
One-Hour Photofinishing 2
Optical Goods Stores 3
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 2
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 9
Passenger Car Rental 4
Payroll Services 2
Periodical Publishers 1
Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 1
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 4
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 2
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 3
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 9
Photography Studios, Portrait 5
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 1
Political Organizations 1
Portfolio Management 3
Prepress Services 1
Professional Employer Organizations 2
Professional Organizations 1
Public Relations Agencies 2
Quick Printing 3
Radio Stations 5
Real Estate Credit 7
Recreational Vehicle Dealers 1
Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage 1
Remediation Services 1
Residential Property Managers 7
Residential Remodelers 9
Retail Bakeries 1
Roofing Contractors 1
Rooming and Boarding Houses 1
Sales Financing 1
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 2
School and Employee Bus Transportation 1
Securities Brokerage 14
Security Guards and Patrol Services 4
Septic Tank and Related Services 1
Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing 3
Shoe Stores 8
Siding Contractors 1
Sign Manufacturing 1
Site Preparation Contractors 4
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 8
Solid Waste Collection 2
Solid Waste Landfill 1
Special Needs Transportation 1
Sporting Goods Stores 12
Sports and Recreation Instruction 1
Tax Preparation Services 10
Telemarketing Bureaus 3
Telephone Answering Services 2
Television Broadcasting 1
Temporary Help Services 5
Testing Laboratories 2
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 1
Tire Dealers 8
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 1
Tobacco Stores 1
Travel Agencies 5
Truck Trailer Manufacturing 1
Used Car Dealers 15
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 1
Used Merchandise Stores 7
Vending Machine Operators 2
Veterinary Services 5
Video Tape and Disc Rental 7
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 3
Voluntary Health Organizations 3
Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters 3
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 4
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 5
Women's Clothing Stores 5
Wood Container and Pallet Manufacturing 3
Wood Window and Door Manufacturing 1
Zoos and Botanical Gardens 1

Forming a Company in Waterloo, Iowa

It's essential that you are forming a legal entity that operates independently from you. Doing so will shield you from personal liability for business debts and obligations.

When forming a company, you will decide among many company types, such as a corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership or other structure.

Incorporating is a very popular way to form a business. Of course, you have to decide which type of corporation to form and where to incorporate. If you are starting a business in Iowa, you don't necessarily have to incorporate in Iowa. In fact, you are allowed to incorporate in any state you would like to. For example, it's very popular to incorporate in Delaware, and incorporating in Nevada has become very trendy as well. Don't forget, though, that you will have to register as a foreign entity in all states that you do business in.

There are many nuances to forming a company. To learn the fundamentals of company formation, browse articles on our site, such as ESOP Formation. You may also want to seek the advice of an attorney. On a final note, since you will be starting a business in Waterloo, Iowa, our web page covering Incorporating in Iowa may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in Iowa.

The Role of the Business Plan

A business plan is essential in maximizing the prospects of your new company. Indeed, your business plan is your game plan for how you hope to grow your business. Failure to write a business plan is a recipe for disaster.

If writing a business plan is on your to-do list, be sure to read Business Plan Mistakes. A great resource for business planning assistance is the free counseling sessions provided by your local SCORE chapter in Iowa.

The Art of Selling

Mastering the art of selling is essential if you want your new Waterloo business to do well.

Good selling involves demonstrating that your wares meet your customer's needs. Let us help you refine your selling techniques through our many useful sales advice tips.

Writing Great Proposals is a good article to read, one of dozens in the Selling for Entrepreneurs section of our site.

How to Improve Your Entrepreneurial Abilities

The best business owners recognize that what they know now may not be enough to ensure their future success.

Given that you are starting a business in Waterloo, Iowa, you should get information on some of the many programs available at nearby Iowa universities, colleges and community colleges. You should also check if there are any Waterloo networking organizations.

Never Give Up

Most new Waterloo businesses underestimate the number of challenges they will face.

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

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

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Waterloo, Iowa

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

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