With one-to-one counsulting and innovative business resources,
we can help you recognize your potential

Start or Grow a Business

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center has been helping entrepreneurs since 1997. Almost anyone can be an entrepreneur, but it takes hard work to be a successful one. Whether you’re ready to start a business or grow your business, the NIACC Pappajohn Center has the resources to help with your next steps.

We offer free business counseling and other resources to entrepreneurs at all stages, in partnership with America’s SBDC Iowa.

Sign up to get started with free business counseling from the NIACC Pappajohn Center and North Iowa SBDC.

First Priorities

Anyone can start a business, but it takes an entrepreneurial mindset and hard work to make it a success. When first starting out, keep it simple, specific, and focused. Identify your first priorities, then sign up for a Start Smart class [link to SS page] and request counseling. Here are three key questions when starting a business:

Business Concept or Model

Can you explain what you want to do in 30 seconds? This is often called an elevator pitch, and summarizes the most important parts of your business concept.

  • What product or service will be offered?
  • Who is going to buy it?
  • How are they going to buy it?
  • When are they going to buy it? (year round or seasonal)
  • Where are they going to buy it?
  • Why are they going to buy from this company instead of someone else?
  • What is the sustainable competitive advantage?

How will it make money?

At this point, don’t worry about the money needed to start up; that comes later. Right now, focus on finding out how much it costs to provide the product or service and how much customers will pay for that product or service. Try to identify all the costs you can think of. Split them into two groups direct costs; all the costs to directly make the product or provide the service and indirect costs; all the costs that exist whether you make or provide anything or not. Direct costs would be things like materials, labor or selling expenses. Indirect costs would be overhead things like rent, utilities, insurances or outside services.

How much money to start up?

Don’t worry about where the money is coming from. That comes later. These are the costs that come up just to open your doors and produce your product or provide your service.

Looking for more resources?

The NIACC Pappajohn Center and North Iowa SBDC connects local business owners with entrepreneurial training programs, pitch competitions, and networking opportunities. Explore Programs & Events to find the right fit for you.


Next Steps

Sign up as a client