10+ Best Small Business Ideas to Start in Iowa [2023])

Explore top small business ideas in Iowa for 2023! Uncover profitable opportunities and kickstart your entrepreneurial journey today.

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 07, 2024

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Hey there, future Iowa entrepreneurs! Are you ready to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality this 2023? Well, you're in the right place. We know that starting a business can be a daunting task, but don't worry, we've got you covered. This article is your ultimate guide to the 10+ best small business ideas to kick-start in the vibrant state of Iowa.

Whether you're a native Iowan or a newcomer, you'll find this state is brimming with opportunities for innovative business ideas. With its thriving economy, supportive community, and rich agricultural heritage, Iowa is a fantastic place to launch your small business.

So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let's dive into the exciting world of small business opportunities in Iowa. We promise, by the end of this article, you'll be buzzing with ideas and ready to take your first step towards your entrepreneurial journey. Let's get started!

Organic Farming Business

Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, and growth hormones. This holistic system is designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock, and people. The principal goal of organic farming is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.

  • Sustainability: Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality.
  • Healthier Produce: Organic foods are free of harmful chemicals, artificial flavors, and preservatives, offering consumers a healthier option.
  • Animal Welfare: Organic farming also promotes animal welfare, as it requires animals to be raised in a natural, free-range environment.
  • Preserves Ecosystem: Organic farming helps to protect biodiversity, providing a habitat for wildlife and preserving a diverse range of species.
  • Profitability: With the growing trend of consumers preferring organic products, organic farming can be a profitable business venture.
image of a Organic Farming Business

Bed And Breakfast

Running a Bed and Breakfast in Iowa offers a unique opportunity due to the state's rich history, scenic beauty, and warm hospitality. The Hawkeye State is a perfect blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure, making it an attractive destination for tourists of all types.

  • Iowa's diverse landscape, which ranges from rolling plains to rugged cliffs, provides a picturesque setting for a cozy Bed and Breakfast. Guests can wake up to breathtaking views and enjoy nature walks right at their doorstep.
  • The state is home to many historical sites and cultural attractions such as the Amana Colonies, the State Capitol Building, and the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. These tourist spots ensure a steady flow of visitors, promising good business for a Bed and Breakfast.
  • Iowa's central location in the heart of the Midwest makes it easily accessible from major cities like Chicago and Minneapolis. This is a great advantage for a Bed and Breakfast as it can cater to city dwellers looking for a relaxing weekend getaway.
  • Lastly, the state's friendly and welcoming locals set the perfect tone for a Bed and Breakfast. Iowa's reputation for hospitality can help create a warm, home-away-from-home experience for guests.
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Examples of successful businesses:

Iowa has been a breeding ground for successful small businesses, with its vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and supportive community. From innovative startups to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, the state has witnessed various small business ideas flourish and make a significant impact. Here are some examples of small businesses that have achieved success in Iowa:

  • Maharry Photography: This photography business in Des Moines has gained recognition for its exceptional wedding and portrait photography services. With a focus on capturing authentic moments and delivering high-quality images, Maharry Photography has become a trusted name in the industry.
  • Pure Bridal: Located in Ames, Pure Bridal has become a go-to bridal boutique for many brides-to-be in Iowa. The store offers a wide range of wedding gowns, accessories, and personalized services, ensuring a memorable and stress-free shopping experience for its customers.
  • Millstream Brewing Company: This Amana-based brewery has been crafting delicious and award-winning beers since 1985. With a commitment to using quality ingredients and traditional brewing techniques, Millstream Brewing Company has become a beloved establishment among beer enthusiasts in Iowa.
  • Raygun: Known for its witty and humorous designs, Raygun is a popular clothing store that originated in Des Moines. With its unique and bold apparel, the store has successfully created a brand that resonates with Iowans and has expanded to other locations in Iowa and beyond.
  • Mallow & Co: Located in Muscatine, Mallow & Co is a confectionery store specializing in gourmet marshmallows. Using natural ingredients and creative flavors, they have reimagined the classic treat, attracting customers from all over Iowa and even shipping their products nationwide.

Local Gourmet Food Store

A Local Gourmet Food Store in Iowa is an excellent idea for a multitude of reasons. Iowa, being a state rich in agriculture, has a vast array of local produce and products that can be showcased in such a store. This not only supports local farmers and businesses but also provides customers with fresh, high-quality food items. Moreover, a gourmet food store will cater to the increasing interest in unique and exotic food items, offering a diverse selection that regular grocery stores may not provide.

  • Supports local economy: By sourcing products from local farmers and businesses, the store would contribute to boosting the local economy.
  • Fresh and high quality: Products sourced locally are usually fresher and of higher quality as they do not have to travel long distances.
  • Diverse selection: A gourmet food store can offer a variety of unique and exotic food items that are not typically found in regular grocery stores.
  • Healthier options: Gourmet food stores often focus on providing organic, gluten-free, and other healthier food options, catering to the needs of health-conscious customers.
  • Educational: Such a store can also serve an educational purpose, teaching customers about different types of food, their origins, and how they can be used in cooking.

More resources:

Craft Beer Brewery

Establishing a Craft Beer Brewery in Iowa is a promising venture due to several reasons. This state is renowned for its fertile lands, which are perfect for growing high-quality grains used in brewing. Moreover, Iowa has a rich brewing history, and its residents have a great appreciation for craft beer. This, combined with the increasing popularity of craft beer across the country, makes Iowa a prime location for a new craft beer brewery.

  • Quality Ingredients: Iowa is known for its fertile soil, perfect for growing high-quality barley and hops used in brewing craft beer.
  • Brewing History: With a long history of brewing, Iowa has a well-established beer culture and knowledgeable beer enthusiasts who appreciate and support local breweries.
  • Increasing Demand: The craft beer industry is booming nationwide, and Iowa is no exception. The demand for unique, locally brewed beers is on the rise.
  • Supportive Regulations: Iowa has favorable regulations for breweries, including tax benefits and grants for startups, which can help a new craft beer brewery thrive.
  • Economic Impact: Breweries contribute significantly to the local economy by creating jobs and attracting tourists. A new brewery can boost Iowa's economic growth.

Handmade Craft Business

Starting a handmade craft business in Iowa can be a lucrative and fulfilling venture. The rich culture and appreciation for handmade items in this state provide a thriving market for craft businesses. Moreover, the state's support for small businesses and the availability of numerous craft fairs and farmers markets offer excellent opportunities for selling and showcasing handmade products.

  • Thriving Market: Iowa has a strong culture of appreciating and purchasing handmade crafts. This provides a ready market for your products.
  • Supportive Environment: The state government in Iowa is supportive of small businesses, providing resources and support to help them thrive.
  • Plenty of Venues: With numerous craft fairs, farmers markets, and local shops, there are plenty of opportunities to sell your handmade crafts.
  • Community Engagement: Iowans are known for their strong community ties. A handmade craft business can thrive in this environment, where word-of-mouth and community support can help grow the business.
  • Online Opportunities: In addition to physical sales, Iowa's connectivity allows for online selling, expanding the potential customer base beyond the state's borders.

Related business ideas:

Mobile Food Truck

Operating a Mobile Food Truck in Iowa presents a unique opportunity for culinary entrepreneurs. This concept combines the love for food with the convenience of mobility, reaching a larger audience and serving a variety of delicious cuisines at different locations. Here are some reasons why this is a good idea:

  • Flexibility: Unlike traditional restaurants, food trucks can move around and serve customers in different locations. This allows for a wider customer reach and the ability to cater to different tastes and preferences.
  • Lower costs: Starting a food truck business requires less capital investment compared to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. This makes it a viable option for entrepreneurs with limited resources.
  • High demand: The food truck culture is growing rapidly in Iowa, with a high demand for a variety of cuisines. This presents an excellent opportunity for profit.
  • Event opportunities: Food trucks can easily cater to events like festivals, concerts, and farmers markets, providing additional income streams.
  • Unique dining experience: Food trucks offer a unique dining experience that attracts foodies looking for something different. This can help create a loyal customer base.

Local Tourism Guide

Local Tourism Guide in Iowa is a great idea for several reasons. Iowa, known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, offers a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to different interests. Having a local tourism guide can make exploring these offerings easier and more enjoyable.

  • A local guide can provide in-depth knowledge about Iowa's landmarks, culture, and traditions, enhancing the overall travel experience.
  • Local guides can offer personalized tours based on your interests, whether it's history, nature, food, or arts.
  • They can provide insider tips on the best places to eat, shop, and visit, which you might not find in generic travel guides.
  • Having a local guide can save you time in planning and navigating, allowing you to make the most of your visit.
  • Local guides can also facilitate interactions with locals, giving you a more authentic experience of Iowa's hospitality.

Home-based Catering Services

Home-based Catering Services in Iowa is a great idea for several reasons. Iowa is known for its hospitality and love for good food, making it an ideal location for such a business. Moreover, the convenience and personal touch that home-based catering services provide are unmatched. They offer a unique dining experience that is both intimate and personalized.

  • High Demand: There is a high demand for catering services in Iowa, especially for events like weddings, corporate events, and parties. This ensures a steady stream of business.
  • Local Ingredients: Iowa is rich in agriculture, providing easy access to fresh, local ingredients. This not only enhances the quality and taste of the food but also supports local farmers.
  • Flexible Work Hours: As a home-based business, you have the flexibility to set your own hours and work at your own pace.
  • Low Startup Costs: Compared to a traditional restaurant, a home-based catering service requires significantly less capital to start.
  • Personalized Service: Home-based caterers can offer a more personalized service, tailoring menus to clients' specific needs and preferences.

Personal Fitness Trainer

Engaging a Personal Fitness Trainer in Iowa can be a transformative decision for your health and fitness journey. Personal trainers provide a plethora of benefits that can help you achieve your fitness goals more effectively.

  • Customized workouts: Personal trainers create a unique workout plan just for you based on the fitness goals you want to achieve. This personalized plan gives you better results than a general workout plan.
  • Educational: They educate you about various aspects of health, nutrition, and fitness. They also help you understand the functionalities of each exercise, which can be a great motivation to keep going.
  • Motivation: Personal trainers help to motivate and push you beyond your comfort zone. They encourage you to try new exercises and lift more than you thought possible.
  • Accountability: When you have a scheduled session with a trainer, it's harder to skip workouts. This accountability helps you to stick to your fitness routine.
  • Variety and Creativity: Personal trainers ensure you don't get bored with the same exercises by constantly changing your routine and introducing new and creative exercises.
  • Injury Prevention: A personal trainer will teach you the proper form and technique to use during your workout so you can stay safe and injury-free.

Custom Furniture Business

Operating a Custom Furniture Business in Iowa presents a unique opportunity due to several factors. The state's rich history in craftsmanship, its abundant natural resources, and the growing demand for personalized home decor make it a prime location for such a venture.

  • Rich Craftsmanship History: Iowa has a long-standing tradition of fine woodworking and craftsmanship. This not only provides a skilled labor pool but also a population that appreciates and values the quality of custom furniture.
  • Abundant Natural Resources: Iowa's abundant forests provide a local supply of high-quality timber. This not only reduces material costs but also allows for the creation of truly local products.
  • Increasing Demand: There's a growing trend towards personalized home decor. More and more people are seeking out custom furniture pieces that reflect their personal style and stand out from mass-produced items.
  • Supportive Business Environment: Iowa is known for its supportive business environment. The state offers a variety of resources and incentives for small businesses, making it an ideal place to start a custom furniture business.


Founder and CEO

I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.