The business plan

A detailed business plan is the first building block for a successful company. It provides input for decisions by the startup team, ensures transparency, and is an essential tool for instilling confidence in investors. This overview and our templates will help you prepare your business plan quickly and conveniently.

What is a business plan?

Whether it's prior to the founding of a company or in a subsequent expansion phase, the business plan is the key document for corporate planning. It is used to analyze the current situation, define specific business objectives, and plan capital and financing requirements. The business plan should help you answer the following questions:

  • What is your mission, and what makes your company unique?
  • What are the core competencies?
  • What strategy will your company pursue?
  • What are the opportunities and risks on the market?
  • What are the short-term, mid-term, and long-term business goals?
  • What measures will you take to achieve these goals?

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04/10/2022

What belongs in a business plan?

A convincing business plan should have a clear structure and include all the information necessary for the reader. Below are the items that your business plan should include in order to obtain the maximum effect:

The executive summary is a short, succinct outline of the main content of the business plan, limited to one or two pages. It should be as concise as possible and the content should get right to the point. The executive summary is a key component of the business plan and helps spark the reader's interest.

In this section, you should present the company's current structure and the business environment. Key components of this section include the company's mission and its strategy.

This section answers questions about the product portfolio:

  • What products and services does the company offer?
  • In which price segment are the products?
  • What will customer needs be in the future, and how can your company meet them?

Precise market knowledge is the key to a successful business idea. For this reason, detailed market research is an essential basis on which to make decisions and provides answers to the following important questions: How big is the market? What are the barriers to entry? What is the market missing that the company can provide? How strong and aggressive is the competition?

In this section, you should show the marketing activities you intend to use to reach customers and impress them with your products. Also describe your value chain, from raw materials procurement to delivery.

Introduce the management team personally to potential investors and highlight the strengths of each member. This section should also include your management principles, personnel planning, and the wage policy you intend to apply.

Show the reader the company's business and operational risks in an honest, objective manner. The analysis can be broken down into three phases:

  • Risk identification: Identifying risks and areas of conflict
  • Risk assessment: The probability of occurrence and the potential loss amount for individual risks
  • Risk management: Defining measures to avoid these risks, as well as for monitoring them

The financial plan is the key element of the business plan. Be transparent about the current financial situation, the future asset and income situation, as well as the financing needs of the company over the next two to five years. By this point at the latest, the reader will know if the business plan makes sense as a whole.

 

The most important components of the financial plan are as follows:

  • Balance sheet forecast
  • Income statement forecast
  • Cash flow statement forecast
  • Key figures
  • Liquidity plan
  • Capital expenditure plan
  • Financing concept
  • Budget controlling

Prepare your liquidity planning (XLS) with our Excel template for more structure and a better overview.

Tips for your business plan

  • Keep the business plan short. Explain content with facts and figures.
  • Write simply, avoiding the use of technical terms where possible.
  • Select an attractive design and a logical, clear content structure.
  • Remember to include key documents such as resumes or detailed analyses with the plan.
  • Revise and update the business plan on a regular basis.