What do you know to create

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Wind and waves are always on the side of the better navigator.

This is what the British historian once said Edward Gibbon have said. Because even if we stay on the mainland, you could independence compare with a trip on the high seas. Such a trip is not for everyone. Many dream about it for half their lives and most people let it go because they are afraid of going under. Seasoned fur seals use a compass to stay on course. We founder have ours for it Business plan.

You, dear founder, are one of the few who have decided to let go and to dare the adventure. And it doesn't matter whether you choose the dinghy or a luxury liner. You will feel free, enjoy the weather, sail around some lull ... and even fight storms at times. You are the captain, from today you decide where the journey is goingwhether the wind and waves are on your side.


Everyone should have one!

But the best navigator is nothing without a goal and the right course. That's why a Business plan not only important for those founders who Apply for funding or need outside capital. Whether you are a small business owner or a company owner - every self-employed person should create a business plan and, above all, keep it safe.

Why? Let's see together what the business plan is all about and where the advantages lie what USP means and examine everything worth knowing Marketing and Financing. Because the fact is: the better your business plan, the faster you will reach your goal.

 


Business plan: at the heart of starting a business?

Do you know that? Ever since you made the decision to start your own business, you have been bubbling with ideas. You wake up at night or you can't sleep because of the excitement. You are euphoric about your plans, but not everyone around you jump to the ceiling with enthusiasm. In the worst case, you will hear the “good advice” not to try it in the first place, because completely others have already failed.

Perhaps you are unsure or even secretly fear that the mountain is too big, that your project is too big. The best way out of the chaos is called structure. The business plan helps you clear ideas from their company to develop a specific goal to formulate strategies and financing options ... and, last but not least, to find the perfect argument for the skeptics in your area.

The Business plan is not a doctoral thesis and is not directly dependent on accurate accounting curves. Rather, he is the heart of your business start-up. He will accompany you over the next months and maybe even years, encourage you and one or the other Show the solution.

  • The business plan is Your guide and a perfect guide.
  • The business plan convinces financiers, Advocates and skeptics.
  • The business plan gives you feedback and the necessary hold.

This is why you should decide now how much time and passion you want to invest in starting your own business. Of course there are numerous portals on the Internet that can generate a zero-eight-fifteen business plan for you. The only question is: is it good for you? Anyone who is already half-heartedly involved and not burned for their project will not have a banker, no customers and least of all convince themselves. Our business plan guide is available for you to download free of charge:

With this guide you will learn to structure your business plan. This enables you to quickly write a business plan that will convince your counterpart.


In the beginning there is the idea

Do you understand that your business plan is more than just a necessary evil for potential financiers? Then it can finally get down to business.

Behind every idea there is a human being. Therefore, start your business plan with a short introductory text about yourself, your person, your previous career, your qualifications, your strengths, your industry knowledge and of course the reasons why you are starting your own business right now. As you write, you will notice how yours thoughts yourself focus. And before you brood for a long time, for once bridle the horse from behind. Because the first point of your business plan is a summary, which you can confidently formulate at the very end when you have analyzed all the important features of your future company.

Let's stay with yours for now Business idea. Regardless of whether you are opening a restaurant, a boutique or health food store, turning your hobby into a profession or wanting to get into the technology industry:

All that really matters is Your idea and that you are passionate about it.

Even if it is difficult, bring the full range of your ideas in a maximum of three to five sentences on paper. It is well known that the seasoning is only in brevity. Nobody has time to read pages or spend hours listening to what you actually want. Imagine you have to make your business idea “palatable” to a layperson within two minutes. In addition to your enthusiasm, it is precisely these crisp formulations that will enable you to Your interlocutors to to convince.


What is your unique selling point, your Unique Selling Point (USP)?

If, at best, you can sing in your sleep what your business idea entails, then it is time for a critical comparison. Marketing experts speak of the so-called Unique Selling Point, USP for short. I mean you individual performance featurethat makes you stand out from the gray crowd of competition. What makes you and your business idea special?

If you don't already know, don't panic. Similar to sports or other competitions, you only know how good you are when you are directly compares. So let's look at the next points together.


No journey without a destination - no destination without a journey.

So before you set out to completely change your life and Your dream come true to doyou should take the time Your goal in concrete terms to formulate. Because what's the name of it? If I don't know where I want to go, no matter how fast I run, I'll never get there. For a vacation trip, I need a ticket with precise information about the place, time, departure, arrival ... What does your ticket look like?

Lots Entrepreneur storm off - without actually knowing where they are going. The fact is: this variant is the direct route to bankruptcy. Anyone who undertakes too much, wants to be good everywhere and only hopes that the customers are numerous and that the money will somehow be enough, will not last longer than a few months.

The account will be empty, the heart attack is inevitable and the skeptics were once again right. Anyone who is open on all sides cannot be completely sealed. Therefore focus on your strengths, prioritize and get stuckclear and achievable corporate goals.

What should your company look like in a year's time?

  • ... percent profit
  • ... new customers / regular customers
  • … Employee
  • ... product expansion

It is better to start with an exclusive product than with a whole range. In your first year as a founder, it is only about access to the market, not about quick money or even prestige. Your timed goals are the basis for entrepreneurial action and save yourself from getting bogged down haphazardly. Determine in what period of time you can achieve what and, above all, how. You write preferably a three-year plan - suitable for your company, your resources, your person. Such an honest and Target setting tailored to you offers you a perfect basis for analyzing, evaluating and monitoring your progress over the next few years.

 


market and competition

You don't operate in a vacuum, so you should yours Environment carefully under the microscope to take:

  • Customers / target group
  • competition
  • Location

Only those who know the market situation can do theirs target group find out, determine prices, calculate costs and benefits.

In this respect, it must be clear that it makes no sense to sell fur coats in the desert. Be realistic and examine your location. If you want to open a restaurant, take a look around. If you are planning an engineering office or an office service, do research on Google Maps and in relevant search portals (e.g. business directory, yellow pages).

Appreciate that Competitive situation realistic one and don't give up right awayjust because there are five competitors within twenty kilometers. Take Competitors as an incentive, continue about her unique selling point ponder and as evidence that a market exists.

And only then do you start thinking specifically about who your customers are. If you open a steak house, for example, you will hardly be able to welcome vegans as guests. If you set up your own business as a hairdresser, you won't see every person with hair on their head as a potential customer. Specialize, for example, in children's hairstyles, unusual hairstylings or house calls.

Tip: The following applies: the more pointed the niche, the easier it is to position.


The right marketing mix

The best advertisement is one solid company presentation, and it starts with you. When you have precisely formulated your business idea and you are clear about where you want to go, then talk about your business, your vision and your ideas.

Now is not the time for expensive glossy brochures, because Marketing is much more than television advertising and the reception of champagne. Better to invest in one substantial marketing mix, which in the classical sense consists of four instruments, which in technical jargon are called the "four P" referred to as: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. Put more simply

  • Strategy (offer / product)
  • Calculation (prices / costs)
  • Communication (how?)
  • Sales (with what?)

And here we are again with yours Unique selling proposition (USP). What benefits does your offer have for your potential customers? What distinguishes you and makes you faster, better, more exclusive than the competition? For example, are you particularly qualified, specialized or even environmentally friendly? In which price segment is your offer? Do you offer your product / service particularly cheaply or is your offer unique and therefore expensive? What are the prices for comparable offers on the market? And how do your prices get along with the upcoming costs?


The advertising strategy must match the target group

You know now Your business idea, Your business goals, Your target audience and maybe even already Your unique selling proposition. Perfect! Then you should now consider how to promote your offer.

If you are not creative, look for someone who can do it. Because not everyone can do everything. Concentrate on what you can do best and use your private environment if necessary.

It is even better, of course, if you do a certain amount from the start Plan your budgetto cover the costs for an advertising agency, flyers, stationery, etc. And keep in mind that Your advertising strategy must fit your target group. Now show in your business plan which specific advertising measures you will use to acquire customers in which period and what it will cost.


The name is not everything

In the context of marketing and your presentation, one thing should of course not be missing: What will your company be called? Anyone who has been thinking about starting their own business for a long time will usually be a perfect one Company name have in mind.

The important thing here is that you Comply with the prevailing legal norms. So be sure to attend Trademark protection and competition law think. This will help you, for example the IHK branch responsible for you. Make yourself smart and it is best to check the Internet to see whether your name has not yet been taken. use no general terms and at best create an artificial name, for example an acronym - the word formation from certain initial letters, such as ZDF: the second German television.

But you Company name is much more than just a word. He should be a promisewith whom you and, above all, your customers identify yourself can.

In addition, you should know which ones legal form is the right one for your company. Are you a freelancer or a professional? Do you run your company alone or with partners? Which tax aspects have to be considered and how is liability regulated? For example, if you are self-employed and your target group is mainly in the private sector, you could benefit from the Small business regulation benefit. In the case of a high liability risk, a GmbH & Co. KG could again represent the appropriate legal form.

Our recommendation: get professional advice before falling into the trap. Are you not sure which legal form to choose for your company? In our logbook entry "Which legal form is the right one for my project?"learn more about the different variants.



chances and risks

Even the crystal clear one Assessment of the opportunities and risks is an important part of your business plan. Especially when you present the good piece to a banker. By the way, financial experts know the risks and can generally live with them.

The only important thing is that you Show a sense of responsibility. So it is of no use if you talk everything nicely or even portray a worst-case scenario.

A healthy assessment of your situation is the effective middle ground. Describe the three greatest opportunitiesthat can have a positive impact on the development of your company, and the three biggest risks or problemsthat could prevent such a thing. Don't argue from gut instinct here, but rather substantiate your statements with numbers, data, facts.

 


With the right plan into the future

Experience has shown that this part of the business plan is the most difficult for most founders. Keywords like Liquidity forecast and Profitability calculation are not necessarily part of our everyday life. But as in real life, not everything is eaten as hot as it is cooked. What's behind it?

It is not uncommon for young self-employed people to storm off - without a goal and without a wallet. So be aware of what your spending will be in the first three years. And don't forget yours too expected income. Again, you should be realistic. There is nothing dishonorable if you are still operating in the red in the first year. Create a Overview per year, which includes the following items:

  • Start-up capital (real available)
  • Costs (for start-up, equipment, material, employees, advertising, operating costs, etc.)
  • Revenue (realistically forecast)
  • Liquidity (solvency, expected account balance)
  • Profitability (what is your profit / loss?)
  • Capital requirement (is your own funds sufficient or do you need outside support?)

Who has enough Seed capital and does not have to convince any financiers, could be satisfied with this overview. Since your business plan should be your coach for the next few years, who will show you whether you are still on the right course, you should definitely go for a detailed one Financial planning do not waive.

It is not reprehensible to misjudge yourself. It only becomes dangerous if you do not correct the course. You should therefore plan as precisely as possible and, at best, a buffer (reserve) of 10 to 30 percent so that the water is not up to your neck in the event of unforeseen delays or costs. The following figures serve as examples of useful and within the scope of the advancement Required analyzes and calculations:

 

A business analysis (BWA) can look like this:

You have almost done it. You are almost done. In order to be able to calculate your projected earnings accordingly, you need to be aware of your prices. If you haven't already, now is the time: How many products / services do you want to offer? What does the competition cost? Approach your planning as modestly as possible, castles in the air won't help at all here.


The most important thing comes at the end

And before we get to the final Checklist you should think about how to use your personal fixed costs deny. Many entrepreneurs forget to pay themselves a "salary" and hope for an amount X that will be left over at the end of the month.

If you do the math, you will starve to death. How much do you need to live? How high are your pension and health insurance expenses? Here you should get one monthly flat rate which is included in the overall business account as private withdrawal. And again: if you don't have a thing for numbers, then find someone who knows their way around. The Financial planning is the foundation of your company. You decide how safe it is.


Checklist

Are you the kind of person who likes to put ticks behind a thing? Then work with checklists as much as possible. So can you concentrate on the essentials and don't forget anything.

The first thing you should do now is go through all the questions in this post again and, ideally, make a list yourself so that you know whether your individual business plan also includes all points and answers all questions. We have a checklist and detailed information for you in our counselor compiled:

And now cast off! May the wind and waves always be on your side!