Starting a business isn’t easy. In fact, it can be one of the most terrifying things you ever do… BUT… You get to be your own boss, make your own decisions and potentially be super successful.

So if you’re being brave and starting a business, here are tips from real startup leaders based in the Westcountry to help you succeed first time.

1. Have a plan

No seriously, a business plan makes all the difference. You might think you can wing it, and yeah sometimes you can. But winging it can be expensive, stressful and self-sabotaging.

When you’re setting up your business, create a roadmap.

Define what you want your business to do, for who, how you’ll get there and even factors such as the budget or marketing demands.

A roadmap doesn’t have to be a solid thing, plans to change after all. But having something you can refer to can help you stay on course when the going gets rough.

2. Keep things simple

When starting out any business it’s always best to keep things simple.

It’s easy to get distracted thinking that you need to have multiple revenue streams, different strategies and burn loads of money to be successful.

Don’t think you have to immediately try and outdo your biggest competitor. Or that you need 200 product lines to be in with a chance of success.

The biggest companies in the world all started small, and you should do. Scale up when you can, don’t burn yourself out before you’ve even started.

3. Find your ideal customer

There is a way to find your ideal customer, and that is by doing some research. Target customer avatars or personas are a great way to understand your target market.

The theory is that you create a profile of your ideal customer or customers, in varying levels of detail.

You can then refer to this in your marketing, content, the advertising platforms you use, even how you develop your product in the future.

Building customer personas isn’t actually that complex, but can be a massive help if you’re trying to succeed at marketing first time.

4. Invest in your own skills

Business is increasingly complex, especially with digital marketing and the huge competition online. So take the time to invest in yourself and build your own skills.

There are so many free courses out there, that you don’t even need to spend money on this step. In Devon, there are many free or discounted courses put on by local initiatives, or attend a local networking event or Chamber of Commerce event.

Take the time to build your personal skills and you stand a much better chance of business success.

Online skills for business can include search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, social media posting, video creation, branding and much more. Study and spend time understanding how you can make your business a success first time.

6. Outsource

Often a very important step, but one that can be a bit of a minefield too.

Outsourcing important tasks can free you up to do more of the business stuff, rather than getting involved in social media marketing, creating a logo, managing your accounts or whatever it is that needs doing.

In fact, at some point, outsourcing will become crucial in most businesses these days.

Platforms such as Linkedin, Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePer Hour can help you find the talent you need to make your business a success.

Read more about starting a business in Devon here.