Writing business plans for founders: How to get started!

Reading time 6 minutes
Writing business plans for founders: How to get started!

You have decided to start your own business. Now only one thing is missing: a sensible business plan! Because no matter whether you want to start your own business full-time or part-time, whether you start your business after graduation, from a permanent position or from unemployment - you will not get around a business plan. But unfortunately, you don't learn how to write business plans properly in school ...

That's probably why you don't have a clear idea of what business plans are for, let alone what they have to contain? No problem! In this article, you will find a useful guide that offers you orientation and important practical tips. Make yourself comfortable, read through the article at your leisure and work through the individual points one by one! You will see: It's not that complicated to write business plans.

Why are business plans important?

Before we go to the Like come, we would like to briefly Why-Answer question: Why do you actually need business plans? Well, it's simple: business plans are fully developed, written summaries of business ideas. Business plans are used to prepare in detail for upcoming start-ups.

For example, business plans show how business ideas work and which target groups they are aimed at. Business plans also highlight opportunities and risks, as well as important financial and capital issues. Business plans are therefore important for examining business ideas in terms of their feasibility and economic potential. This is the only way to determine whether or not they are actually feasible.

Das klingt ziemlich betriebswirtschaftlich und in gewisser Weise ist es das auch. Schließlich schreibst du deinen Businessplan nicht nur für dich, sondern auch für mögliche Geschäfts- und Finanzierungspartner. Banken, (Privat-) Investoren oder das Arbeitsamt – sie alle nutzen deinen Businessplan als Grundlage für ihre Entscheidungen.

So put extra effort into writing your business plan or get support from a start-up consultant. After all, your business plan is a crucial document: business plans lay the foundations for successful start-ups and prevent premature failure due to lack of preparation. Therefore, consider the business plan as an important milestone of your Self-employment!

How are business plans structured?

Business plans should be well structured. Similar to papers or term papers, you should also use a formal style of language. Don't worry, no one expects a literary masterpiece. It's the content that counts! However, it makes sense to divide the most important points into clear chapters. A clear structure shows a structured way of working and conveys that you take the whole thing seriously. Here is an example of how a business plan might look:

1. offer and target group

Right at the beginning, business plans should convey the basic aspects of the business idea: What products or services do you want to offer? What are the special features? Who do you want to sell your offer to? Use the first few pages of your business plan to explain the essentials in concrete terms. Remember not only to describe your offer in as much detail as possible, but also to define your target group precisely. This will make the subsequent market analysis easier.

2. market and competition

Now it's time to get down to business! In order to successfully establish your business, you first have to analyze it: How big is the current market? How could the market volume develop in the coming years? How much competition is there? Who do you have to compete with? What are the barriers to entry? The more detailed you are with this chapter, the better.

Under no circumstances should business plans contain figures that support business ideas just to make a good impression on the bank advisor. Or in other words: Be one hundred percent honest - even if the market volume is small or the competition is large and these figures are not outstanding arguments. After all, you want to know honestly whether your business idea is viable after the market analysis.

3. goals and future

Time to shape your future! Of course, potential investors are interested in your short-, medium- and long-term goals. But you should also think in stages for yourself: What do you want to achieve in the first few months of your start-up? What in the first business year? What do you want to achieve within the next five years? And what is feasible? Your goals should be ambitious, but realistic. They provide a direction, which in turn forms the basis of your strategy.

4. strategy and focus

This is where it gets exciting: developing a good strategy requires time, creativity and a keen sense of your customers' wishes and needs. The better you position yourself, stand out from the competition and bring your uniqueness to the fore, the higher your chances of success. Strategies also help you not to lose sight of your goals in your daily work.

Therefore, formulate them as concretely as possible and focus in the business plan primarily on the most important aspects such as sales and distribution strategies. Of course, you can diligently develop other strategies - for example, a social media strategy, a newsletter strategy and many others. In business plans, however, you should focus on the essential strategies that really drive the business forward.

5. marketing and advertising

At the beginning you will have to invest in advertising to make your customers aware of you, your company and your offer. Think about good marketing and advertising strategies and summarize them in your business plan. Explain where and how you want to reach your target customers. Keep an eye on the budget and try to find ways to advertise as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

If you already have potential clients, get them to confirm in writing that they are interested in your offer. Such a letter is worth its weight in gold for business plans. It shows bank advisors and investors that there is already interest and that the first customers are waiting in the wings. This is extremely persuasive!

6. taxes and law

Admittedly, the topics of taxes and law are not the most exciting. Nevertheless, they deserve a place in your business plan. Include how you envisage accounting, which legal form you want to choose and whether you need any permits or licenses. If necessary, also list whether you need certain insurances.

7. founder and operational aspects

"Time to shine: It's all about you! Introduce yourself and your professional qualifications. You have completed an apprenticeship, successfully completed your studies or have relevant further training? Great, in this chapter report on your personal suitability and show why you are a perfect fit for the business idea - or rather the idea is a perfect fit for you.

In addition, you should also address operational aspects, such as the location of your company, the number of employees and the mission statement. You should also describe how you envisage internal structures and which milestones you are aiming for. Work out why investors should invest in you and your project!

8. financial plan and capital requirements

Financial plans could be described as the heart of all business plans. This includes planned expenses, expected income and, of course, information on the expected liquidity, i.e. the financial fluidity. The best thing to do is to list your current costs and investments and distribute them over the next few months! When do you spend what?

You compare that with your income: How much is your start-up capital? What do you have available from reserves each month? What sales do you realistically expect, ideally and in the worst case? Do you spend more than you earn? When do you expect this to change? Look month by month how your liquidity is developing. This way you get rough key data: When do you make money? When don't you? And what can go when things are going well?

The financial plan with capital requirements is of course also very important for potential investors. Do not under any circumstances calculate your start-up capital too tightly - rather plan with a higher sum and create a small buffer. Because in the vast majority of cases, a start-up will be more expensive than originally planned.

9. SWOT analysis

Congratulations, your business plan is almost ready! Just type a few more lines and you're done. The only thing missing is the SWOT analysis. It compares the strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats of your company.

Well, did you do it? Then congratulations on your finished business plan. Check again quickly whether it contains the following criteria of good business plans: Good business plans are comprehensive, but not verbose. They are detailed, but focus on essential aspects. And they are multi-layered - i.e. they illuminate your entrepreneurial project from several perspectives. Everything taken into account? Perfect, then you can proudly present it to your business or financing partners!


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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