- The founder of the business
- Start-up projects
- Branch and market
- Legal form
- Marketing strategy
- Financial plan
- Opportunities and risks
The above structure is used for orientation and does not have to be adopted.
The business plan starts with a brief summary that has the intention to arouse the interest of the reader to read on after the first page. The abstract should be no longer than one page and be brief on the wording.
The reader should get an overview over the main aspects of your business plan by reading your concise presentation of your business idea and the unique selling proposition or in simple words: Describe in which way your services differ from the portfolio of your competitors. Also, you should describe how your business will develop in the years after start-up.
The founder of the business
This section should cover your skills as an entrepreneur. Explain your professional competences and how you have achieved it in the past. Convince the reader of your experiences and describe your activities and functions which you had in previous companies.
The management of a company requires professional qualifications as well as social skills which play an important role. Refer on hobbies or other projects where you have successfully implemented your social competence.
If you have deficits in the area of the business management, e.g. in business administration, accounting or in the commercial area, describe the actions you will take to eliminate them and show how they will affect your cost situation (e.g. hiring external consultants).
In the chapter “Start-up projects“, the reader should take an interest in the service / products you offer and he has to be convinced that your offer will be competitive. Explain the specific characteristics of your service / products and your competitive advantages and illustrate the additional benefits for the clients. Please also explain the costs of your service to ensure that the reader understands the revenue and cost calculations of your offer.
Business branch and market
At market launch also competition begins. Therefore, it is essential that you know the market and your competitors’ well. You need to know which services are offered by your competitors and what strengths and weaknesses they have. Research this on the internet, in the yellow pages or check with professional chambers that know about the local or regional market. You need to deal with the structural data of your business branch: for example with the current market size as well as the future development. In order to evaluate the potential of your company, you should describe the dominating barriers to enter the market and how to overcome or circumvent these.
Your analysis should also address your customers´ needs and wishes. The price of your services may have to be adapted to the purchasing power of the target group. Frequently the price depends on the chosen location of the business. Therefore, explain why you chose the location and check the accessibility of your potential customers at this location.
This chapter covers the particular choice of the right legal form. For your business you have a variety of different types available (individual enterprise, partnership, corporation etc.), which all have a different impact on fiscal aspects and liability. With the chosen legal form you are able to influence the future development of your business, namely whether you wish to involve shareholders or if you want to take the entire business risk as an individual entrepreneur.
The terms “marketing and distribution” involve much more effort than you might first realize: Particularly the marketing strategy has to be carefully chosen and realized. Here you explain your strategy that you want to apply when presenting your company in the market.
Very important is that your services differ from those of your competitors. Please explain which particular benefits your services can offer to your customers and how they will satisfy their needs.
Please answer the following questions: How can I present my offer best? And how will I achieve that my services clearly stand out from my competitors´ in terms of quality and price-performance ratio?
The price plays a decisive role in the development and presentation of your business. Here you have to decide in which price category you want to operate: high-price, low-price, or selling at threshold price.
List the costs of your business in detail. Add matching prices to your services offered. Estimate your sales during the first years (important: estimate the services you will sell in the first years carefully!). Please keep in mind that the price of your services has to cover your costs in any case and that your prices have to be competitive.
Create a distribution concept which fits your service and the requirements of your target group. Please also think about an alternative marketing concept in order to respond quickly to changing customer needs and market conditions.
Please also think about an alternative distribution concept to respond quickly to the new customer needs and market conditions.
Specify the planned advertising and promotion activities. Describe logo, colors, website, customer acquisition etc. in detail and also the costs resulted therefrom.
The financial and liquidity plan represents all your private and business related income and expenses. For the first year of your self-employment you have to list all your expenses and income by the month while it is sufficient to list them for the following years annually.
By using the financial planning tool you can calculate and show from when or whether your project is profitable. In addition, it serves as your controlling instrument for your financial data: this tool allows you to compare your actual with your plan figures and to determine possible deviations.
We recommend our Excel template to create the financial and liquidity plan. This is available in our download section for free.
Opportunities and risks
Each start-up business will not only have opportunities but it is also exposed to risks. It is all the more important to deal with the risks and create a plan of action. For this purpose it is advisable to create a worst-case and best-case scenario, so when checking the business plan, the risk is transparent and can be better assessed.