Best Businesses to Start in Iowa

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Are you considering starting your own business in Iowa? Entrepreneurship can be an exciting adventure with countless possibilities. The first step is to determine the best business to start in Iowa. This is different for everyone. Take into consideration the lifestyle you want to live, whether that is working from home, interacting with other people, wearing a suit, being outdoors, or something else entirely. The most profitable business ideas in Iowa aren’t always the best if they don’t make you happy. 

What is the Best Business to Start in Iowa

There are so many options for businesses in Iowa. If you’re wondering about the most profitable businesses to start in Iowa, we have a curated list of strong suggestions. 

Idea #1: Specialty Bakery

Who doesn’t love special sweets? Set yourself apart with something unique like a specific dessert or custom cakes or cupcakes. Take orders online or open a storefront. If you’re in a high foot traffic area, make sure to leave your door open often. People have a hard time resisting the amazing smell of baked goods right out of the oven. 

Idea #2: Content Writing

Most businesses with an online presence could benefit from a good content writer. Open your own company and do all the work yourself or hire additional writers. Blogs, webpages, ad copy, white papers, ebooks, and other marketing assets can make a big difference in a business’s ability to acquire customers. Up your value by learning how to optimize your online content for search engines. 

Idea #3: Childcare Service

In 2020, Iowa Childcare Resource and Referral found that 40% of cities with children didn’t have known childcare programs. Childcare is a necessity for many working parents, even those working from home. If you like working with children, opening a daycare may be the best business in Iowa to start. Not only do you get to play with children all day, but you also get to send them home. 

Idea #4: Food Truck

Do you know your way around a kitchen? If your friends are constantly telling you how great your food is, you may want to consider opening a food truck. This is a great way to express your love of cooking without the high start-up costs and responsibility of owning a restaurant. Food trucks provide flexibility and the option to experiment with new menu items. It’s also a great way to test the waters if you’re considering opening a traditional restaurant. 

Idea #5: Local Artist Co-op

A local artist co-op might be the best small business in Iowa to start for someone who loves to buy local and support the local community. These types of businesses often reside in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. Downtown or historic areas are great places to sell local goods. Offer vendors a consignment option to lower your risk of purchasing merchandise that moves off the shelves slowly. 

Idea #6: Personal Trainer

Everyone wants to be a little more fit, and many people need some motivation to make it happen. Becoming a personal trainer is a great way to keep yourself active and help others. There are a number of certifications available that can be obtained relatively quickly online. One of the things that rank personal training as potentially the best business to start in Iowa is flexibility. You don’t have to work for a gym. You can also train clients from anywhere including your home, their home, a shared studio space, or even a park. 

Idea #7: Coffee Shop

A 2020 survey found that Iowa ranks in the top 10 most caffeinated states. A coffee shop could be the best business to start in Iowa for someone who loves coffee. A great location close to a college or area where people work provides an opportunity to be the place where people come to work remotely, socialize, or study. If you don’t want to be tied down to a single location, consider a coffee cart or even a truck (like a food truck, but with coffee). 

Idea #8: Meal Kit Service

Meal kit revenue worldwide is expected to grow to over 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and is forecast to exceed 20 million by 2026. With more people working from home or not wanting to venture to the store, meal kits are increasingly popular. If you enjoy putting together balanced meals that you aren’t responsible for cooking, this could be a great fit. Meal kits can be delivered locally or shipped nationally, depending on your aspirations. When evaluating good businesses to start in Iowa, consider convenience. 

Why These Are the Best Small Businesses to Start in Iowa

Choosing the best business to start in Iowa is a very personal decision. Take profitability into consideration, but also your happiness, growth aspirations, and lifestyle preference. Here are some reasons why these suggestions made the list of best business ideas in Iowa.

  • Start-up costs can be relatively minimal
  • Many of these can operate as a mobile or home-based business
  • These businesses appeal to a wide variety of people
  • Businesses can start off small with the potential to grow 

Making a decision about the best business to start in Iowa shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure to do a market analysis prior to settling on what you want to do. 

Best Cities in Iowa for Starting a Business

Whether you choose your business or your location first, the two need to match. If you want to open a coffee shop, it’s important to make sure that there aren’t five of them within a three-mile radius. Here are a few suggestions for potential business locations in Iowa:

  • Des Moines
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Dubuque
  • Ames
  • Iowa City
  • Sioux City 

Determine the best place to start a business in Iowa according to the need for the business and where you would like to reside.

Form Your Business with Us

Once you have made the decision to start a new and awesome business, it’s time to dig into the details. One of the first things you need to do is decide what kind of business to form. You have multiple options. We can help you Compare Different Business Structures and figure out the best fit for what you do. We can make the process easy with our Iowa Limited Liability Company Formation Service and Iowa Corporation Formation Service.

We can handle all aspects of your business formation including helping you acquire an Iowa Registered Agent, file a DBA, apply for business licenses and permits, and more. Once you have established your business, we can help you stay organized and on track with our Worry-Free Compliance Service so that you’re always in a position to receive an Iowa Certificate of Good Standing. You already have enough to think about. Starting a business should be fun, not stressful. That’s why we’re here.


  • Iowa has a lot of opportunities for growth. From big cities to small towns, people are seeking growth in areas with a lower cost of living.

  • Creating a long- and short-term business plan helps to establish goals and strategies for growth. Choose an industry with growth potential and the ability to operate on both a small and large scale.

  • Franchise opportunities are available for both large national and small local businesses. Make sure to do your research on franchise obligations before purchasing.

  • There are countless options when it comes to online businesses. Keep in mind whether you will be providing a service or a product and how far you’re willing to extend your client base or shipping region. Many businesses of all industries find success with online sales.

  • There are many options for the best business to start in Iowa when you prefer to work from home. In this digital age, most of the businesses on this list can operate out of a home or be mobile.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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