Planning your start-up

How can you transform your business idea into reality? This is the question you need to answer in your business plan.

More importantly, you will also explain what's new and special about your endeavour. You should also emphasize how your products or services benefit customers. You should explain in detail the costs of your product or service and the price at which you intend to offer them.

Make it clear how your product or service is different from that of competitors. State who you think will buy what you have to offer, explain your choice of location and how your product (your service) is to be marketed.

Your business plan: Layout and other information

Just how extensive your business plan has to be depends on what you are planning to do. The following overview offers a rough guide for your business plan and will steer you to the right background information (in German).

1. You the entrepreneur(s)

  • What qualifications/professional background and licences, if any, do you have?
  • What do you know about the sector?
  • What commercial skills do you have?
  • What are the strengths?
  • What are the weaknesses? How can they be offset?

Useful information:

2. Business idea: Product/service

  • What is the purpose of your project?
  • What's special about your business idea?
  • What are your short-term and long-term business goals?
  • What product/service do you want to produce or sell?
  • When will production/service start?
  • Development status of your product/service?
  • What preconditions have yet to be fulfilled before you start?
  • When can the product be marketed?
  • Which legal formalities (e.g. licences, approvals) have yet to be completed?

For projects involving extensive development:

  • Which development steps have yet to be carried out for your product?
  • When can a pilot series start?
  • Who will conduct testing?
  • When will a patent procedure, if any, be complete?
  • Which technical licenses are needed?
  • Which patent or utility model rights do you have or have you applied for?
  • In an ideal scenario, how would the technological possibilities develop?

Useful information:

3. Market and competition


  • Who are your customers?
  • Where are your customers?
  • How are the individual customer segments made up (e.g. age, gender, income, profession, shopping behaviour, private or business customers)?
  • Do you already have reference customers? If so, who are they?
  • Are you dependent on just a small number of key accounts?
  • What are your customers' needs/problems?


  • Are there other developments "similar" to yours?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your competitors charging for your products?
  • What are your competitors' greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What weaknesses does your company have compared to your major competitors?
  • How can you counteract these weaknesses?

Useful information:


  • Where will you offer your product/service?
  • Why have you chosen this location?
  • What are the disadvantages of this location?
  • How can these disadvantages be offset?

Useful information:

  • Start-up information – Location (in German)

4. Marketing


  • How can your offer benefit potential customers?
  • How is your offer better than that of competitors?


  • What kind of price strategy are you pursuing and why?
  • What price do you want to charge for your product/service?
  • What is the costing basis for this price?


  • How high are your distribution costs?
  • What are your sales targets and over which period of time?
  • Which sales territory do you have in mind?
  • Which distribution partners will you use?


  • How can your customers find out about your product/service?
  • What kind of advertising measures are you planning and when?

Useful information:

5. Organisation/employees

  • Present your future company (date of establishment, shareholders, managing directors, employees, place of business, business purpose, strategic alliances. If available, patents, rights, licenses, contracts).
  • What is your company's present phase of development (development, establishment, market launch, growth)?
  • If available, include an organisational chart of your company along with details of the individual managers (age, company affiliation, qualifications, training).


  • How many employees do you want to hire, when and at what frequency?
  • What qualifications should your employees have?
  • What kind of training are you planning to provide for your employees?

Useful information:

6. Legal structure

  • Which legal structure have you chosen for your business? Why did you opt for this?
  • What kind of shareholder structure are you planning and how will you distribute shares in the business?
  • Does the legal structure take into account the interests of the shareholders?

Useful information:

7. Risks/opportunities

  • What are the three biggest opportunities that could have a positive impact on the further development of your company?
  • What are the three most important difficulties that could hinder the positive development of your company?
  • How do you wish to counteract risks/difficulties?


8. Financial plan

  • How much money do you need to get your company up and running and for a liquidity reserve for the start-up phase (6 months after establishment; approx. 2 years in the case of innovative science companies)?
  • How much equity do you have?
  • How much capital do you need to borrow?
  • What kind of collateral can you put up for loans?
  • Which funding programmes could be useful for you?
  • Which equity investors could also be of interest to you?
  • Can you lease certain assets? If so, what are the terms and conditions?

Liquidity plan

  • How high do you think your monthly contributions will be (spread over three years)?
  • How high do you think the monthly costs will be (material, personnel, rent, etc.)?
  • How high do you think investment costs will be (spread over the first twelve months)?
  • How high do you think the monthly debt service will be (principal and interest)?
  • What kind of monthly liquidity reserve do you expect to have?

Revenue/profitability forecast

  • How high do you estimate that sales will be over the next three years?
  • How high do you estimate that costs will be over the next three years?
  • How high do you estimate that profits will be over the next three years?

Useful information:

9. Documents

  • Tabular CV
  • If available, articles of association (draft)
  • If available, longer term rent agreement (draft)
  • If available, lease agreement (draft)
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