Today, Missouri boasts more than half a million small businesses—which amounts to 99.4% of all private enterprises in the state. Missouri’s low tax and labor costs make it a promising location for new ventures to thrive.
That said, transforming an idea into something bigger can sound daunting, but if you take it step by step then you’ll find your way to a successful business. Our guide below should certainly help you on your way and you can refer back to it any time you wish.
Read Also: How to Start a Business
Start a business in Missouri in 7 steps
01. Come up with a business idea
The crucial foundation of any business is coming up with a solid business idea. Turn a passion into a lucrative business, or tap into your years’ of expertise in a certain field. Do your research at the start as the product or service you choose will ultimately shape your business, so having a strong idea from the start is key to your success.
We’ve pinpointed a few clever business ideas for Missouri below:
Agritourism: Missouri is known for its rich agricultural heritage, with many family-owned farms that offer opportunities for visitors to experience farm life and activities. Think: pick-your-own fruits, hayrides and corn mazes.
Outdoor recreation: Missouri is home to many parks, lakes and forests, making it a prime location for outdoor recreation businesses, such as hiking tours, kayak rentals, camping and fishing guide services.
Food and drink: Praised for its finger-licking BBQ, beer and wine, Missouri’s food culture sets the stage for businesses looking to serve up new foods and drinks. There are endless options in this industry, from starting a BBQ restaurant to running a craft brewery or winery.
Health and wellness: With a growing interest in health and wellness, including a budding CBD scene, Missouri offers a good backdrop for starting a yoga studio, starting a gym or other business that celebrates wellness.
Home renovation and remodeling: With many older homes in need of updates in Missouri, starting a home renovation and remodeling business could be a profitable endeavor.
Event planning and coordination: Missouri’s rich history and picturesque landscape make it a popular destination for weddings, corporate events and other special occasions. Help locals or out-of-towners get around by offering event planning and coordination services.
Looking for other ideas? Check out these guides to starting a specific type of business
02. Choose your business type or model
Before you launch your business, consider the types of business that you can establish in Missouri. If you’re not sure which business entity is best for you, take a look at the options below and consult a professional for additional guidance:
Franchise business model: This model allows you to start a business using an established brand, proven business model and ongoing support from a franchisor. This can be a good option for you if you’re looking to minimize risk, save on operating expenses and capitalize on a successful concept.
Online business model: Sell to consumers in Missouri and beyond. The products and services you sell can range from online fitness classes to virtual consultations.
Service-based businesses: A service business is often appealing due to its minimal startup costs and flexibility in terms of hours. Work with a team or work on your own, whether you decide to offer services in the form of hair cutting, graphic design and more.
Home-based businesses: By running your business from your home, you can save on rent and other overhead costs that traditionally impact a business. Consider pet-sitting or an online tutoring business—all things that you can do from the comforts of your home.
Subscription-based business model: Subscriptions offer a more predictable revenue stream but require tight coordination. Examples of subscription-based businesses include product subscription boxes, streaming services and meal-delivery services.
03. Name your Missouri business
When choosing a business name, be sure to think of a name that’s catchy, memorable and easy to say. If you need help brainstorming fresh ideas, check out Wix’s free business name generator and use the domain name search to check that it’s available as a website name. Similarly, you’ll want to check the Missouri Secretary of State’s website to ensure that there are no other businesses registered with the same moniker.
Once you nail down your name, file an Application for Reservation of Name, which will require a $25 submit fee for most business entities. Then, apply your name to all of your branding and profiles. Note that if you want to use a name that’s different from your personal name or the name of your LLC, corporation or partnership—you’ll need to register a DBA (doing business as) and pay a $7 filing fee.
04. Write a business plan
Get off to a promising start by creating your business plan, which is an essential part of establishing a business in any state. Your business plan should include at least an executive summary, funding plans and capital commitment, management and staffing plans, as well as marketing and advertising strategies.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with your concept statement, business idea and business model, then beef up your plan from there.
05. How to license and register your business in Missouri
Starting a business in Missouri requires registering and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. The steps to register a business in Missouri include:
File formation documents with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. This typically involves submitting Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, depending on your business structure.
Obtain an EIN from the IRS.
Register your business with the Missouri Department of Revenue to obtain any necessary tax IDs.
Obtain necessary licenses and permits, e.g., a liquor license or food service permit. Check for industry-wide licensing requirements, as well as local requirements.
Register for insurance. Though not required, you’ll likely want to consider getting general liability insurance, property insurance and/or other protections.
Specific requirements may vary depending on your business type, so it's a good idea to check with the appropriate government agency to make sure you check all the boxes.
06. Secure business funding
When it comes to obtaining funds, it helps to research available loans, grants and investment opportunities that can give you the initial capital you need to get your business off the ground. You can additionally entertain methods like crowdfunding or engaging angel investors to generate even more funding for your venture.
There are several government programs and resources available to help fund any business in Missouri:
Missouri Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): The Missouri SBDC provides assistance with business planning, financial analysis and loan packaging to help your business secure funding.
Missouri Microloan Program: This program provides small, short-term loans to startup and early-stage businesses that don’t qualify for traditional bank financing.
Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC): MTC similarly offers funding and resources to startups and early-stage technology companies in Missouri.
Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA): MASBDA provides funding and technical assistance to small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, through low-interest loan programs.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA): offers a variety of loan programs and resources to help small businesses in Missouri, including the 7(a) loan program and the Community Advantage loan program.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs: These federal programs provide funding to small businesses engaged in research and development in a variety of fields, including technology and science.
Each of these programs has specific requirements and eligibility criteria, so take the time to research them in greater detail and to check that your business qualifies.
07. Create a business website
Creating a business website is a superb way to get your business online, both to sell your product or service, and to promote it too. Websites are also a great business tool for building a brand and can help you reach a larger audience worldwide. Regardless of where you choose to start your business, a sleek website can broadcast your offerings across the globe.
While you might do business across a variety of online and offline channels, a website serves as a destination that’s fully managed by your brand (i.e., you can customize the entire user experience from start to finish). The best websites leave a strong impression on visitors by clearly showing what your brand is about and giving them a place to return for further research and purchases.
With a platform like Wix, you can additionally simplify everything from website design to back-office operations. Learn more about starting a website with Wix.
Business examples in Missouri
Check out some Missouri business examples, all with Wix websites that support their endeavors.
Hub Tavern and Grill
The bar Hub Tavern and Grill is located in Kalamazoo, Missouri and offers an extensive range of beer on tap. Not only do they offer a mouth-watering menu that attracts customers in droves, but the tavern offers a lively environment for visitors to shed some stress. The tavern maintains a simple, yet bold website that has gift cards up for grabs and plenty of details on their upcoming events to keep you in the loop. Check out our guide on how to create a bar business plan to get started.
Taylor Jay Designs
Taylor Jay Designs is home to creative design sketches and branding success stories. Jay’s polished and aesthetically pleasing website is a nod to his craft: industrial design. Jay’s website serves as his personal portfolio, showcasing his latest work with brands like MightyGood and ProXR.
How to start a business in Missouri review
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How to start a business in Missouri FAQ
How much does it cost to start a business in Missouri?
It depends on the type you want to start. An LLC will cost $50 to secure Articles of Incorporation online. A paper application costs $105. Missouri, unlike a lot of other states doesn't require business owners to submit annual reports.
Is Missouri a good place to start a business in?
It can be and here's some reasons why. Missouri is located in the center of the United States, making it an ideal location for businesses looking to access markets in the Midwest and beyond. The state also has excellent transportation infrastructure with access to major highways, railways, and airports. The state also offers tax incentives and credits to businesses to help reduce their operating costs.