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17 Best Business Ideas to Start in Iowa

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

17 Best Business Ideas to Start in Iowa

Based on the steady increase in jobs, Iowa is recovering well from the pandemic slump, with many new jobs in the accommodations, food services and manufacturing sectors. 

The corresponding increase in disposable income bodes well for startups. If you’re looking for guidance on what might do well, you could bake cakes or make candles, open a boutique or a liquor store.

Check out our list of excellent Iowa business ideas to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Manufacturing

How to Start a Pallet Manufacturing Business

In Iowa, a manufacturing business typically requires construction permits and a sales tax exemption certificate from the Iowa Department of Revenue for purchasing raw materials tax-free. Key tips include focusing on product quality and building strong relationships with local suppliers to reduce costs. Ensure compliance with safety regulations and invest in technology to streamline operations.

2. Insurance

How to start a insurance agency

To start an insurance agency in Iowa, you must obtain a license from the Iowa Insurance Division after passing the required examinations. Key tips include staying updated on insurance laws, offering competitive pricing, and excellent customer service. Networking with other local businesses can provide a steady stream of referrals.

3. Rental Property

How to start a rental property business

For managing rental properties in Iowa, landlords must comply with local housing codes and obtain necessary permits for property modifications. Important tips include thoroughly screening tenants, keeping detailed financial records, and maintaining properties to attract and retain tenants. Staying informed about tenant rights and real estate market trends is also crucial.

4. Fish Farm

How to start a fish farming business

Starting a fish farm in Iowa involves obtaining an aquaculture unit license from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Essential tips include choosing the right species based on local market demand, maintaining optimal water conditions, and implementing sustainable farming practices to protect local ecosystems. Regular health checks for fish will prevent disease and loss.

5. Health Care

How to start a home health care business

To open a healthcare facility in Iowa, proper licensing from the Iowa Dept. of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing is mandatory, along with compliance with state healthcare regulations. Key advice includes investing in qualified staff, continuous professional development, and up-to-date medical equipment. Building a good reputation through quality patient care and community involvement is vital.

6. Wholesale

wholesale business idea

Wholesale businesses in Iowa must register with the Iowa Department of Revenue and obtain a sales tax permit. Tips for success include establishing a diverse product range, competitive pricing strategies, and robust relationships with manufacturers and retailers. Efficient inventory management and understanding market trends are essential.

7. Liquor Store

How to start a liquor store

Liquor stores in Iowa need a liquor license from the Iowa Department of Revenue Alcohol & Tax Operations Division. Key tips include choosing a strategic location, understanding local market preferences, and enforcing strict age verification processes. Regular promotions and a variety of inventory can help stand out in the market.

8. Dog Breeding

How to start a dog breeding business

Dog breeders in Iowa must comply with licensing requirements from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship if they own more than three breeding dogs. It’s important to prioritize animal welfare, maintain proper health records, and breed responsibly. Building a good reputation through transparency and ethical practices is key to success.

9. Clothing Boutique

How to start a clothing boutique business

Opening a clothing boutique in Iowa does not require specific licenses unless you sell items that require sales tax collection, for which a permit from the Iowa Department of Revenue is needed. Success tips include understanding fashion trends, providing excellent customer service, and creating a pleasant shopping environment. An online presence can also boost sales.

10. Music Production Company

How to start a music production company

For a music production company in Iowa, registering your business and obtaining a tax permit for sales is required. Focus on building a strong network of artists and music professionals, investing in high-quality recording equipment, and maintaining an active online presence to attract clients. Hosting local events can also raise your profile.

11. CBD Products

How to start a cbd business

Selling CBD products in Iowa requires compliance with state regulations, including obtaining licenses for selling consumable products. It’s crucial to source high-quality, compliant CBD products and educate customers on their benefits and uses. Staying updated on legislation changes and market trends will help in navigating this evolving industry.

12. Fashion Business

How to start a clothing line business

Starting a fashion business in Iowa involves registering your business and obtaining necessary sales tax permits. Important tips include keeping up with fashion trends, understanding your target market, and managing inventory effectively. Building a strong online presence and participating in local fashion events can enhance visibility and sales.

13. Blog

blog business idea

To start a blog in Iowa, no specific licenses are required unless you sell merchandise or services through your blog. Key tips include choosing a niche you are passionate about, creating high-quality content regularly, and engaging with your audience through social media and comments. SEO optimization can significantly increase traffic and visibility.

14. Digital Marketing Agency

How to start a digital marketing agency

Setting up a digital marketing agency in Iowa involves registering the business and understanding local business regulations or permits. Focus on building a skilled team, staying ahead of digital trends, and providing measurable results to clients. Networking and word-of-mouth referrals are powerful tools for growth.

15. Candle Shop

How to start a candle business

Opening a candle shop in Iowa requires a sales tax permit from the Iowa Department of Revenue. Important tips include offering a variety of scents and styles, using high-quality materials, and creating a welcoming store atmosphere. Offering workshops and seasonal products can also attract more customers.

16. Cake Making

How to start a cake business

For cake making in Iowa, you’ll need a food license from the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing. Key tips include perfecting your recipes, offering customization options, and maintaining excellent hygiene standards. Effective marketing strategies and a strong online presence showcasing your designs will attract more clients.

17. Virtual Assistant Service

How to start a virtual assistant business

Starting a virtual assistant service in Iowa requires basic business registration. Tips for success include specializing in services in high demand, such as social media management or bookkeeping, maintaining high productivity, and offering excellent communication to clients. Building a strong online presence and networking are crucial for attracting clients globally.


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17 Best Business Ideas to Start in Iowa