In order to start up in business you must first come up with an idea that you think you can turn into a product or service. Alternatively you may already have that idea or product you have invented that you think people will want to buy. In this case you should consider protecting your Intellectual Property (IP).

The First Steps

When looking to start a business there are some recommended first steps to explore.

SKILL SETS – If you haven’t already done so, it is useful to look at the types of skills that would be beneficial to have as a business owner and to understand the issues and challenges that come with running your own business; as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

LEGAL STRUCTURES – It is helpful to have an idea of the different types of legal structures for business so you can chose the right one for you. Visit : Legal & Regulatory resource page

BUSINESS PLAN – It is vital to write a business plan to focus your thoughts on what it is you want to do and how you are going to do it. If you are looking to apply for finance most funders will ask to see a business plan and a financial forecast.

RESEARCH – It is important to research your market, to find out who will buy your product and who your competitors are to make sure your business idea is viable.

MARKETING – You will also need to decide how you are going to market your business and the type of internet presence you want. Visit : Sales & Marketing resource page


Receive your Business Start Up and Finance for Start Ups resource packs now. These packs contain practical and digestible reports, guides & fact sheets for start ups, from; branding to business plans, legal and regulatory concerns to finance options, budgeting advice and more.


Written in plain, jargon-free English, we provide the resources that business owners with a great idea need to see their enterprise move forwards.

Networking for StartUps

This short video from Innovate UK provides you with quick and easy tips for successful business networking which can be a key benefit for start ups.

Useful Links

Identify potential customers. Talk to them and find out if your idea is meeting a real need.

>> Research your market 

Test your product or service with real customers, make changes, and test it again. Keep doing this until you’re sure there’s a demand for it.

>> Develop and plan

Think about who you’re going to work with to develop and sell your idea.

>> HM Gov website : Find partners and suppliers 

The Growth Hub Supplier Directory provides listings of companies that deliver business support services in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay

>> The Growth Hub Partner and Supplier Directory

Work out which legal structure is right for you:

>> Set up your business

>> Register for tax.

Free online information and tools for starting a business, such as writing a business plan, start-up costs, producing invoices, and cash flow forecasting

>> Start Up Donut

Online guidance on starting and running a business.

>> Business is GREAT Britain

To find out how the Growth Hub can help your business, contact our team today on 03456 047 047 or use our online form

business-support-icon-60px-01Business support programmes

    • New Start Devon
    • Devon
    • The project provides an intensive, integrated and rolling support program on all the critical learning and knowledge required to plan, start-up and develop a successful business in a variety of locations and hubs across Devon.
    • Read more
    • Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme
    • Devon and Somerset
    • The Prince's Trust work with 18 to 30-year-olds to turn big ideas into a business reality through their Enterprise programme. From training and mentoring support to funding and resources, they're with you every step of the way.
    • Read more
    • Start Up Loans
    • Devon and Somerset
    • A government funded scheme to provide advice, loans of up to £25,000 and mentoring to startup businesses.
    • Read more
    • Innovate UK
    • Devon and Somerset
    • If you want to develop an innovative product, process or service, you may be able to apply for funding of between £25,000 and £10 million through Innovate UK.
    • Read more
    • HMRC
    • Devon and Somerset
    • HMRC provide online support for starting or running a business around topics such as business tax, self-assessment, business expenses and record keeping. Support options include webinars (online presentations), e-learning, YouTube videos and factsheets.
    • Read more
    • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
    • Devon
    • Advice to businesses to assist with addressing all matters to fire safety. Primarily to ensure compliance with fire safety legislation, and achieve this with a minimum of fuss and cost.
    • Read more
    • South Hams Business Support
    • South Hams
    • A range of fully funded advice and guidance for new or existing businesses in the South Hams District Council area.
    • Read more
    • West Devon Business Support
    • West Devon
    • New or trading businesses in West Devon borough council area can access free 1 to 1 advice from a qualified business adviser.
    • Read more
    • Cornerstone Mentoring
    • Somerset
    • Cornerstone Enterprise Support Limited (Cornerstone) offer a business mentoring service in Somerset.
    • Read more
    • Business & Intellectual Property Centre (Exeter and Barnstaple Library)
    • Devon
    • Exeter Library is part of the Business and Intellectual Property Centre network. As a Business and Intellectual Property Centre they follow a programme and ethos developed by Business and Intellectual Property Centre at the British Library, London, providing support to business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors.
    • Read more
    • University of Plymouth – Enterprise Solutions
    • Devon
    • Plymouth Universities Enterprise Solutions offers a wide range of support to businesses. Enterprise Solutions is your gateway to accessing Plymouth University’s expertise, talent and facilities. Their aim is to give you the support you need, when you need it.
    • Read more

icon-events-60pxEvents and workshops

Sorry, there are currently no resources available.

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GOV.UK website

Government advice, information and tools for businesses covering a whole range of sectors, issues and themes.