January 9, 2021  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for Minnesota Entrepreneurs  
  Saint Paul, Minnesota Resources for Entrepreneurs  
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Starting a Business in Saint Paul, Minnesota

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

Are You Sure You Want to Do This?

Most startup businesses fail, in part because the founder did not have the entrepreneurial skills and traits needed to succeed. So, before you start your business, consider all of the implications of being an entrepreneur.

Because entrepreneurship is not for everyone, we recommend you do the following to help you assess whether you should move forward with starting a business:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs in Saint Paul. Ask them candidly what it's like to run a business.
  • 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. The people who know you best are often in the best position to tell you bluntly whether you will be a good entrepreneur.

What Business to Start

An important decision is what kind of business you want to start. To stir your creative juices on what kind of business to start, take a look at Good 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 Dance Club guide or our Starting a Tatoo Parlor guide.

Remember that your new startup will be located in Saint Paul. Some businesses will do better in Saint Paul than others. Make sure you fully understand Saint Paul demographics before you lock in on your business idea.

As a new Saint Paul entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Saint Paul 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 1
Advertising Agencies 36
Air and Gas Compressor Manufacturing 1
Aluminum Die-Casting Foundries 1
Aluminum Foundries (except Die-Casting) 1
Ambulance Services 4
Amusement and Theme Parks 2
Amusement Arcades 5
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 11
Apprenticeship Training 6
Architectural Services 76
Armored Car Services 1
Art Dealers 12
Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing 3
Automatic Vending Machine Manufacturing 2
Automobile Driving Schools 10
Automotive Exhaust System Repair 9
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 18
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 64
Automotive Transmission Repair 21
Baked Goods Stores 17
Ball and Roller Bearing Manufacturing 1
Barber Shops 9
Beauty Salons 251
Bed-and-Breakfast Inns 1
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 6
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 114
Blind and Shade Manufacturing 1
Blood and Organ Banks 6
Boat Building 1
Boat Dealers 8
Book Publishers 19
Book Stores 37
Books Printing 1
Bowling Centers 10
Breweries 1
Broadwoven Fabric Finishing Mills 5
Building Inspection Services 16
Business and Secretarial Schools 3
Business Associations 80
Cable and Other Program Distribution 9
Cafeterias 17
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 15
Canvas and Related Product Mills 2
Car Washes 26
Carpet and Rug Mills 1
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 22
Caterers 20
Cemeteries and Crematories 10
Charter Bus Industry 1
Child and Youth Services 34
Child Day Care Services 207
Children's and Infants' Clothing Stores 14
Civic and Social Organizations 101
Claims Adjusting 14
Clothing Accessories Stores 15
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 10
Collection Agencies 17
Commercial Bakeries 11
Commercial Flexographic Printing 3
Commercial Lithographic Printing 54
Commercial Photography 10
Commercial Screen Printing 24
Commodity Contracts Brokerage 6
Commodity Contracts Dealing 2
Community Food Services 9
Computer and Software Stores 26
Computer Facilities Management Services 7
Computer Storage Device Manufacturing 1
Computer Systems Design Services 257
Computer Training 8
Concrete Pipe Manufacturing 1
Confectionery and Nut Stores 6
Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 3
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 3
Consumer Lending 16
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 7
Convenience Stores 21
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 20
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 2
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 5
Couriers 29
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 12
Credit Bureaus 7
Credit Unions 61
Curtain and Drapery Mills 2
Custom Computer Programming Services 273
Custom Roll Forming 2
Cut Stock, Resawing Lumber, and Planing 1
Deep Sea Freight Transportation 1
Dental Laboratories 23
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 16
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 10
Digital Printing 2
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 26
Direct Mail Advertising 24
Direct Title Insurance Carriers 26
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 7
Discount Department Stores 25
Display Advertising 11
Document Preparation Services 16
Doll and Stuffed Toy Manufacturing 2
Drafting Services 9
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 112
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 46
Educational Support Services 24
Electric Power Distribution 10
Electrical Contractors 146
Electronic Auctions 1
Electronic Computer Manufacturing 2
Electronic Connector Manufacturing 3
Electronic Resistor Manufacturing 1
Electronic Shopping 17
Elementary and Secondary Schools 86
Emergency and Other Relief Services 8
Employment Placement Agencies 30
Engineering Services 184
Envelope Manufacturing 2
Environmental Consulting Services 36
Ethyl Alcohol Manufacturing 1
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 26
Explosives Manufacturing 1
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 9
Facilities Support Services 11
Family Clothing Stores 46
Family Planning Centers 10
Farm Product Warehousing and Storage 1
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 14
Fats and Oils Refining and Blending 1
Fine Arts Schools 41
Finish Carpentry Contractors 63
Fish and Seafood Markets 1
Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers 2
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 90
Flight Training 4
Floor Covering Stores 36
Flooring Contractors 53
Florists 52
Fluid Milk Manufacturing 3
Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing 3
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 20
Food Product Machinery Manufacturing 1
Food Service Contractors 73
Footwear and Leather Goods Repair 10
Footwear Merchant Wholesalers 4
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 8
Framing Contractors 37
Freight Transportation Arrangement 79
Frozen Specialty Food Manufacturing 2
Fruit and Vegetable Markets 4
Full-Service Restaurants 448
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 29
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 19
Furniture Stores 67
General Automotive Repair 177
General Freight Trucking, Local 61
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 8
General Rental Centers 10
General Warehousing and Storage 19
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 91
Glass and Glazing Contractors 8
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 22
Grantmaking Foundations 38
Graphic Design Services 89
Hand and Edge Tool Manufacturing 4
Hardware Manufacturing 3
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 25
Hardware Stores 35
Hazardous Waste Collection 1
Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal 1
Heating Oil Dealers 2
Historical Sites 6
HMO Medical Centers 15
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 31
Home Centers 9
Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers 26
Home Health Care Services 89
Home Health Equipment Rental 3
Homes for the Elderly 24
Household Appliance Stores 25
Human Rights Organizations 9
Hunting and Trapping 1
Ice Manufacturing 1
Industrial Building Construction 2
Industrial Design Services 2
Industrial Gas Manufacturing 1
Industrial Launderers 7
Industrial Mold Manufacturing 9
Industrial Pattern Manufacturing 1
Industrial Valve Manufacturing 1
Inland Water Freight Transportation 2
Institutional Furniture Manufacturing 2
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 459
Interior Design Services 38
Internet Publishing and Broadcasting 8
Internet Service Providers 12
Investigation Services 17
Investment Advice 75
Iron and Steel Mills 1
Iron Foundries 3
Irradiation Apparatus Manufacturing 1
Janitorial Services 138
Jewelry (except Costume) Manufacturing 3
Jewelry Stores 76
Junior Colleges 2
Kidney Dialysis Centers 7
Land Subdivision 19
Landscape Architectural Services 8
Landscaping Services 184
Language Schools 6
Leather and Hide Tanning and Finishing 1
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 23
Libraries and Archives 4
Limited-Service Restaurants 496
Limousine Service 11
Livestock Merchant Wholesalers 1
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 18
Locksmiths 12
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores 4
Luggage Manufacturing 2
Machine Shops 41
Mail-Order Houses 21
Malt Manufacturing 1
Manifold Business Forms Printing 4
Marinas 2
Marketing Consulting Services 112
Marking Device Manufacturing 1
Masonry Contractors 46
Materials Recovery Facilities 7
Mattress Manufacturing 3
Meat Markets 14
Meat Processed from Carcasses 2
Media Representatives 6
Medical Laboratories 12
Medicinal and Botanical Manufacturing 2
Men's Clothing Stores 19
Metal Can Manufacturing 2
Metal Heat Treating 2
Metal Stamping 5
Metal Window and Door Manufacturing 1
Miscellaneous Intermediation 10
Mobile Food Services 16
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 97
Motion Picture and Video Production 29
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing 3
Motor Vehicle Towing 15
Motorcycle Dealers 9
Museums 10
Music Publishers 2
Musical Groups and Artists 15
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 17
Musical Instrument Manufacturing 3
Nail Salons 52
New Car Dealers 40
New Housing Operative Builders 28
News Dealers and Newsstands 2
News Syndicates 2
Newspaper Publishers 17
Nonresidential Property Managers 47
Nursing Care Facilities 35
Office Administrative Services 81
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 21
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 25
Offices of Bank Holding Companies 11
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 120
Offices of Chiropractors 208
Offices of Dentists 315
Offices of Lawyers 449
Offices of Optometrists 28
Offices of Other Holding Companies 14
Offices of Podiatrists 9
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 82
One-Hour Photofinishing 8
Ophthalmic Goods Manufacturing 1
Ophthalmic Goods Merchant Wholesalers 4
Optical Goods Stores 44
Outdoor Power Equipment Stores 9
Packaging and Labeling Services 12
Packaging Machinery Manufacturing 4
Packing and Crating 3
Paint and Coating Manufacturing 5
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 21
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 100
Paperboard Mills 2
Parking Lots and Garages 58
Passenger Car Leasing 3
Passenger Car Rental 22
Payroll Services 13
Periodical Publishers 27
Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 3
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 30
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 14
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 4
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 80
Photography Studios, Portrait 34
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil 2
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 2
Plastics Bottle Manufacturing 1
Plate Work Manufacturing 2
Political Organizations 20
Portfolio Management 35
Poultry Processing 1
Power-Driven Handtool Manufacturing 2
Precision Turned Product Manufacturing 4
Prepress Services 6
Printing Ink Manufacturing 3
Private Mail Centers 10
Professional Employer Organizations 9
Professional Organizations 41
Public Relations Agencies 34
Quick Printing 32
Radio Networks 4
Radio Stations 15
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 6
Real Estate Credit 97
Real Estate Investment Trusts 3
Recreational Goods Rental 2
Recreational Vehicle Dealers 4
Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage 2
Reinsurance Carriers 1
Remediation Services 9
Rendering and Meat Byproduct Processing 1
Repossession Services 5
Residential Property Managers 94
Residential Remodelers 243
Retail Bakeries 14
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 18
Roofing Contractors 52
Rooming and Boarding Houses 5
Sales Financing 9
Savings Institutions 6
Saw Blade and Handsaw Manufacturing 1
Sawmills 1
Scheduled Freight Air Transportation 3
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 11
School and Employee Bus Transportation 8
Secondary Market Financing 3
Securities Brokerage 116
Security Guards and Patrol Services 14
Semiconductor Machinery Manufacturing 1
Septic Tank and Related Services 4
Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing 9
Ship Building and Repairing 1
Shoe Stores 62
Siding Contractors 40
Sign Manufacturing 33
Site Preparation Contractors 34
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 163
Soap and Other Detergent Manufacturing 4
Soft Drink Manufacturing 1
Software Publishers 34
Software Reproducing 1
Solid Waste Collection 23
Solid Waste Landfill 4
Sound Recording Studios 6
Special Needs Transportation 10
Specialty Canning 1
Spice and Extract Manufacturing 1
Sporting Goods Stores 68
Sports and Recreation Instruction 38
Sports Teams and Clubs 4
Spring (Light Gauge) Manufacturing 3
Steam and Air-Conditioning Supply 1
Support Activities for Forestry 2
Tax Preparation Services 64
Taxi Service 3
Telecommunications Resellers 4
Telemarketing Bureaus 11
Telephone Answering Services 6
Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing 1
Television Broadcasting 6
Temporary Help Services 126
Temporary Shelters 15
Testing Laboratories 17
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 14
Tile and Terrazzo Contractors 22
Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers 3
Tire Dealers 40
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 61
Tobacco Stores 26
Toilet Preparation Manufacturing 3
Tortilla Manufacturing 1
Tour Operators 7
Tradebinding and Related Work 7
Translation and Interpretation Services 8
Travel Agencies 66
Truss Manufacturing 1
Used Car Dealers 39
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 24
Used Merchandise Stores 52
Vending Machine Operators 25
Veterinary Services 61
Video Tape and Disc Rental 52
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 57
Voluntary Health Organizations 16
Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters 6
Water Supply and Irrigation Systems 1
Web Search Portals 4
Weft Knit Fabric Mills 2
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 208
Window Treatment Stores 4
Wineries 1
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 51
Women's Clothing Stores 77
Wood Container and Pallet Manufacturing 2
Wood Office Furniture Manufacturing 4
Wood Preservation 4
Wood Window and Door Manufacturing 3

What About Franchising Opportunities?

As you drive around Saint Paul, you may be surprised to see how many franchises there are in the area. But is franchising the right option for you?

Most business experts recommend that you consider franchising as an option. This site has dozens of articles on franchising, such as Before Buying a Franchise. Get a thorough education on franchising by browsing all of our Articles on Franchising.

To learn about specific franchise opportunities, check out our Franchise Directory.

Sample franchise opportunities include Subway Franchises and Starbucks Franchises. Alternatively, you can browse franchise categories, such as Accounting Franchises and Moving Franchises.

Note on Saint Paul Franchise Opportunities: To find out if a franchise you are interested in is available in Saint Paul, you will need to get in direct contact with the franchisor.

Have You Considered Buying an Existing Saint Paul Business?

An excellent way to get started in business is to Buy a Business in Minnesota. Follow that link and you may find several good businesses for sale in Saint Paul.

For anybody who wants to buy a business, we recommend reading this useful article: How to Buy a Business.

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.

Pick a company name that isn't too generic. If you do a search engine search for your proposed name and a billion results come up, you may want to reconsider the name. It's much easier to come up in the search engines when your name is fairly unique.

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

As a final piece of advice, remember that because you are opening a business in Saint Paul, it's imperative that you check now that you will be the only Minnesota company using the business name you have chosen.

Forming a Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota

A critical step is ensuring that your business is formed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Doing so will shield you from personal liability for business debts and obligations.

The entity you form can be a traditional C-corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or an S-corporation.

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 Minnesota, it doesn't mean you are required to incorporate in Minnesota. In fact, you can incorporate wherever you want. However, if you do incorporate in another state, you'll have to register as a foreign corporation in your home state.

There are many nuances to forming a company. We recommend you read some of the educational articles about company formation that are availabe on our site, such as LLC Advantages. You may also want to seek the advice of an attorney. Finally, if you are starting a business in Saint Paul, Minnesota, our information on Incorporating in Minnesota may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in Minnesota.

Don't Forget to Create a Business Plan

A business plan is essential in laying a solid foundation for your business success. Simply put, 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.

To learn more about business plans, read Find Sample Business Plans Online. A great resource for business planning assistance is the free counseling sessions provided by your local SCORE chapter in Minnesota.

Raising Capital for Your Venture

Finding the funds to fuel the growth of your Saint Paul business is not an easy task. Bootstrapping, which means growing the business without outside funding, is the best alternative, but that's not a viable option for many startup plans.

To learn about raising money, we recommend you read the fundraising articles on our site, such as 504 Loans.

For Saint Paul entrepreneurs who want to raise money for a new venture, check out our List of Minnesota Angel Investors and our List of Minnesota Venture Capital Firms.

Marketing Your New Venture

To grow your Saint Paul business, you'll need to have a good marketing plan.

You can learn plenty about marketing on our site. Dealing with Angry Customers discusses marketing strategy and tactical marketing in a way that should get you thinking about how to creatively promote your business. That's just a taste of the many useful articles we have on Marketing a Small Business.

The Art of Selling

Mastering the art of selling is priority one if you want your new Saint Paul business to do well.

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 offers some helpful tips on how to sell. It's one of several good articles on our site regarding Entrepreneurial Selling.

Improving Your Entrepreneurial Skillset

Good entrepreneurs recognize that they don't know everything.

With your business being located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, you will want to take advantage of the many programs available at nearby Minnesota universities, colleges and community colleges. We also recommend you look into networking groups or organizations in which Saint Paul entrepreneurs get together to network and trade their business experiences.

Next Steps

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

If you choose the right business and love what you do, you will greatly increase your odds of success.

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

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Saint Paul, Minnesota

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



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