For Start-ups

Business plan

A business plan might include, though not exhaustively: the business idea, the company structures, the tasks of the different areas (Procurement, Production/Goods and Services, Sales, Organisation, Accounting), the relevant markets and the business objectives. On the other hand, it also deals with features (strengths and weaknesses) which are significant for the specific project. The concept should cover a timespan of three to five years and make qualitative as well as quantitative statements.
Internally, the plan can help to
  • structure and illustrate the concept,
  • define targets, strategies and measures,
  • serve as a guideline for implementing the company foundation, and
  • be used as a monitoring tool for target-actual comparisons.

Externally, it is indispensable for
  • procuring third-party capital,
  • procuring capital from holdings and other investors,
  • applying for public grants,
  • applying for the Employment Agency start-up grant,
  • for supplier orientations,
  • for training potential employees, and for gaining new customers.
Use your business plan as an opportunity for a detailed critical analysis of your concept. If your overall concept is clear and cohesive, and you can provide evidence of your market opportunities, this will greatly increase your chances of success in negotiations with your investors. Plan sufficient time for collecting the data, developing the idea, adding details and drawing up the business plan itself - altogether this can easily take more than a year.
Business plan structure
Before writing the plan, you should consider what target groups you are aiming at. You may need to create slightly different versions of the plan in order to convince different recipients. The plan recipients are normally not from the same industry. This is why it must be
  • easy to understand: Explain any technical terms, and avoid technical details in favour of clear illustrations,
  • Present your tasks, opportunities but also risks completely but concisely,
  • Make your illustration factual and realistic (otherwise it will not seem credible) and
  • Make sure that your plan is appealing in relation to its format, presentation (short sentences, the overall plan should be no longer than 30 pages) and content.
And remember: The first, and usually also the most important, impression of your business plan significantly depends on its presentation!