A Tradition of Innovation

Steps to Starting a Business

Having a great business idea is just the first step to building a successful start-up. These suggestions are intended to assist you in organizing your new startup business in Marion County, Iowa. This is a general outline and some specific businesses may require additional steps. The resource for this outline is the Iowa Small Business Resource Guide and the FASTTRAC New Venture Manual. If you would like a copy of the Iowa SBDC Resource Guide publication, call 800-373-7232.

1. Identifying the Market Need.

Will your business concept attract enough customers to be a profitable business? Potential startups need to analyze and research market needs, develop a customer profile and identify potential competitors.

2. The Business Plan.

This document will assist you in developing your business and provide a road map for decision making. You may choose to work with a private consultant or utilize on the public agencies that provide business development assistance. A good business plan includes product planning/positioning, market analysis, customer analysis, organization structure, three-year financial statements, marketing plan, human resource plan, identification of advisors/investors and startup costs.

3. Regulatory Requirements.

Starting a new business requires you to obtain the necessary permits, licenses and regulatory documentation. Contact the Business License Information Center at the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) at 800-532-1216 or blic@iowalifechanging.com for a start-up packet that is tailored to your specific needs.

4. Business Structure.

The next step is to determine how your business will be structured and contact the appropriate departments to register. Seek legal counsel for assistance. To register corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, nonprofit corporations and a trademark/service mark, contact the Secretary of State at (515) 281-5204 or sos@sos.state.ia.us. To register a sole proprietorship or simple partnership contact the Marion County Recorder’s Office at (515) 828-2211.

5. Tax Reporting.

For further information on state tax reporting and payments contact the Iowa Dept. of Revenue and Finance at 800-367-3388 or www.state.ia.us/tax . For further information on federal tax reporting and payments contact the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040. To obtain a Federal Employer’s Identification Number contact the IRS at 800-829-4933. The Des Moines IRS office provides a business tax kit, call 515-284-4870.

6. Employee Information.

For information on workers compensation, call 515-281-9619. For information on job (unemployment) insurance, placement services and training programs, go to www.iowaworkforce.org or call 800-972-2024. For information on OSHA, minimum wage, hazardous materials, registration of construction contractors, call 515-284-4794 or go to www.osha.gov. To contact the Iowa Environmental Protection Agency call 515-284-4029.

7. Insurance Protection.

Consult an insurance agent or broker for guidance in obtaining insurance needed for your business and to determine your liabilities.

8. Site Selection.

There are many factors involved in identifying the appropriate site for your business. The type of business you have will determine which factors are most important: space requirements, traffic, utilities, work force, infrastructure, zoning, etc. Real estate professionals and local chambers of commerce can assist you in locating and selecting the appropriate site.

9. Local Requirements.

Once a potential site has been identified, you will need to research the local regulations which may affect your business such as licensing, zoning regulations, infrastructure, sewer/septic, local ordinances, etc. Approvals from government agencies may affect your timeline and project. It may be important to research these regulations prior to purchasing land.

10. Questions.

Contact the Small Business Resource Office at 800-532-1216 or your local chamber office.

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