Business Startup Launch GuideIf thoughts of entrepreneurship have been dancing in your head, you’ve likely experienced a host of emotions—from excited to overwhelmed, and everything in-between. Starting a business from the ground up is hard work, but it also can be a rewarding labor of love.

Starting a business is a big commitment

It’s easy to underestimate just how much research and preparation goes into launching a successful startup.

  • What steps do you need to take?
  • Where can you find help?

This resource guide will:

  • Provide the stages of the startup process
  • Identify what steps you need to take
  • Highlight resources that can help you along the way

Review financesBefore you start making plans for your business, you’ll need to make sure your personal finances are in good shape. That’s because business lenders will look at your personal credit—even if you’ve already formed an LLC—when deciding whether to approve your business loan.

If you’re not sure how your finances check out, consider getting a free Dupaco Money Makeover. A Dupaco expert will review your financial picture and look for ways you can cut costs and save more for your business endeavors.

You also can request a free Dupaco Credit History Lesson to learn more about your credit and, if needed, find out how to build your score before seeking a loan. Throughout the process, you can keep tabs on your credit score and report with Dupaco’s free Bright Track credit monitoring service.

Evaluate YourselfBeing your own boss and managing a business can be a rewarding experience. But it also might be more complicated than you’d think.

It’s essential to be honest with yourself and answer some tough questions before beginning the startup journey:

  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses so you can plan accordingly?

Learn more about yourself by taking the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurship Readiness Assessment.

Take the assessment

Idea DevelopmentSpark

Every business starts with an idea. Here are some great opportunities to inspire your entrepreneurial spirit.

Pressure Test

OK, so you’ve got an idea. But can that idea become a viable business? Here are some resources to help you find out.


Once you’ve defined your concept, it’s time to make a plan for success—develop your business plan.

Technical Assistance

Here are some great resources that provide hands-on advice on how to execute your plan.

From Idea to Action

Iron out the details using a simple business plan. Feeling stuck? See Jen’s example in the video below.

Business DevelopmentProof of Concept Capital

Looking for funds to help test your idea? This resource could help:


If you have a widget that you need to test, these places have prototyping equipment:

Market LaunchRoll Out Capital

Looking for funds to launch? Here are multiple resources:

  • Local Credit Unions and Banks: Some methods of funding include business loans, credit cards, personal loans and home equity loans. It’s a good idea to talk to a financial expert to get some help figuring out which options are the right fit for you.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding can be a good way to get a new business off the ground. It can even help a small business expand, especially if you have a strong core of loyal customers who want to see you grow.
  • Iowa Center for Economic Success
  • SBA Loans and Grants
  • Iowa MicroLoan

Economic Incentives

Going to Market

Sourcing & Manufacturing

You don’t have to go it alone.

Many times, when people come for a business loan, they feel overwhelmed. They feel the weight of the endeavor on their shoulders, and theirs alone. But that’s not a sustainable practice when starting and running a business.

You need three very important people on your team as a business owner:

  • An accountant you know and trust
  • An attorney you know and trust
  • A lender you know and trust

You’re not an expert on everything, so you need to have these experts in your corner. They will cheer you on, guide you in the right direction and offer constructive criticism to make your business thrive.

They’re vested in the success of your business, too.

It’s Dupaco’s business to help you grow yours!

If you’re on the fence about whether to take the business leap, use your credit union as a resource. That’s what we’re here for!