Business plan

A well thought-out business plan should exist before starting a new business. Your business ideas should be presented thoroughly and convincingly in it. It is essential for loan negotiations with potential investors.

The business plan is not an unchangeable document, but a dynamic planning tool for your business start-up. It helps you to take your company from the concept phase to the concrete planning phase. It acts as a guide on how to proceed and as a control instrument, and allows you to check all the different aspects of your plan. You can therefore change your plans in good time and without major losses, or even reject them again before you assume any economic obligations.

Tip: Take all the time you need to draw up your business plan and whatever happens don't get someone else to do it for you. Don't only draw up a best-case scenario, but also a worst-case scenario (e.g. how long can I survive without making any money?). Set up specific interim targets and your response should they not be achieved. What is the point at which you personally will no longer want to continue with your plans?

Structure of the business plan

Before drawing up the plan, you should consider who your intended target groups are. Target groups are e.g. banks, private investors or venture capital companies, cooperation partners, business associates and suppliers. You might have to adjust the emphasis of your business plan to convince the different addressees.

The addressees of your business plan will usually not come from your own industry. Therefore you should

  • write it such that it is easy to understand (short sentences, explain specialist terms, avoid technical details and use straightforward explanations).
  • present it objectively and realistically and
  • give it an attractive design (form, preparation and content, no more than 30 pages).

The business plan is made up of the following sections:

  • Abstract
  • Personal details about the founder
    • Reasons for your intended self-employment
    • Experience in the industry, commercial skills
  • Company (business idea)
    • Company name, legal form
    • Purpose of the business, product or service
    • Organisation of the company
    • Opportunities and risks
  • Market
    • Overview of the market
    • Customers
    • Analysis of the competition and the competitive environment
    • Choice of suppliers
  • Marketing
    • Price
    • Sales & Distribution (cost of sales & distribution, how will you sell/distribute your products/services)
    • Publicity/Advertising measures
  • Location planning
    • Regional location of the premises (above all for retail outlets)
    • Advantages and disadvantages of the location
  • Manpower planning
    • Number of employees
    • Qualifications and remuneration
  • Financing
    • Capital requirements (investments, resources, start-up costs)
    • Financing (equity capital, borrowed funds)
    • Return on investment
    • Cash flow plan
  • Documents/Attachments

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Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 13.09.2018. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.