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How To Start A Business: The roadmap

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Being your own boss and starting off with an idea – this requires, beyond a good dose of courage and above all, careful planning. From the nascent idea to marketing through the business plan and financing: we will show you how to start a business and reveal all the important aspects of the process.

Set up a business – but with what idea at the start?

Let’s face it: they exist – those business ideas that change the world, whose inventors and creators enrich themselves overnight and which give birth to a ” unicorn ” (a start-up valued by investors over the years). In most cases, we can also be satisfied with a more modest scope for creation.

Either you have “at the start” a profession which lends itself very well to the liberal professions – p. ex. programmer, advisor, or architect – Or you have unearthed the idea of ​​a new product, a service offer not available (in your region), or similar.

To find ideas for start-ups, consider for example the question ” What problem exists that I can solve (with a product or a service)”. Observing the market can also help: who is already there, what can you do too, not to say better? Potential emerges to either take an existing idea on its own or optimize it further.

My company: develop the idea of ​​creation

After you have gathered ideas, start by sorting them out and bringing them to life. If your list contains ideas that don’t give you any pleasure or that you seemingly lack technical knowledge about, dismiss them. Since the list is probably quite short anyway, you can quickly move on to developing an idea and the first draft of the business model.

First, describe very briefly your idea, the skills you bring to it, and the uses that customers can derive from it – and you have already taken the first step in developing your business model.

Also describe the partners, service providers, etc. that you need in addition to the structure of your business or activity. The profit model is also a central aspect: it answers in a broad sense the question “How do I find a business that is profitable?”.

Business plan: open your business on paper

Once the idea is well defined, we move on to the centerpiece of any creation: the business plan. It provides you with a framework to deal with your idea, the market, the opportunities, and the risks in detail.

In addition, it is important to create a business plan to convince investors or solicit grant funds if necessary. A separate guide gives you detailed information on how to create a business plan, – we only outline the key points below:

  1. Describe your business concept , namely what you want to offer and why. Also detail the key skills you bring to its achievement.
  2. Outline your target group (s) in as much detail as possible and carry out a market analysis . What does the market look like? Who are your competitors? What are the motives that would lead customers to turn to you rather than the competition? Lean forward p. ex. on statistics and results market analysis open access for this purpose.
  3. Explain your business structure, for example location, production processes, team organization charts and legal form chosen . Explanations of strategic partners and suppliers, as well as their dependencies, should also be included here.
  4. Highlight the opportunities and risks (in the market, related to your legal form, etc.) and specify how you plan to deal with them.
  5. Explain your sales and marketing strategy . We return to this point in more detail below.
  6. Describe your cost structure : on the one hand, at what prices you want to offer your products and services; on the other hand, what are your current fixed and variable costs and how much capital do you need and / or can you contribute if necessary. Different funding possibilities are available for start-ups – from bank credit to grant funds. Important parts of a business plan are also an economic viability plan (when does your business become profitable?) And an investment plan (when do you foresee what expenses?).

The points listed do not follow a defined order of succession according to which you should constitute your business plan but only describe its contents. If you do not know precisely how such a document is to be formally constructed, there is a business plan software that’ll support you in its creation.

Create a business in the correct legal form

The choice of the legal form for the company is also a major orientation when it comes to answering the question “How to found a company?” »: It establishes the legal framework within which you can operate as an entrepreneur. Beyond the legal aspects, this choice also involves fiscal and financial aspects.

In principle, the choice of the status of the company can relate to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and capital companies.

The two main criteria for differentiation and decision when choosing the legal form are:

  • Liability : in the case of sole proprietorships and partnerships, you commit your personal assets, while this is protected with capital companies where only the capital of the business can be used.
  • Equity capital to be provided : no minimum capital is provided for sole proprietorships, civil law companies and Co. In addition, the bureaucratic effort to concede for the creation and administration of the company remains manageable. Corporations impose minimum deposits and the administrative burden increases.

Key tasks to be carried out for the creation of a business

The creation only becomes official from the moment you opt for a legal form and register with the competent authorities. In many cases, you must declare your business activity.

Joining a professional association is not a requirement at the start but can eventually pay off – there are dedicated professional organizations in virtually every industry and region. This not only represents the interests of your sector in the public sphere and politically, but it is also the compulsory accident insurance body. If you have employees, you must register them and pay corresponding contributions.

When it comes to insurance: As an entrepreneur, you not only have to take care of your health and long-term care insurance but also take out various professional insurances. The insurance against civil liability of the business and professional liability protects you against such claims for compensation by third parties who have suffered damage. You can also ensure your premises, inventory, vehicle fleet, and other assets, and take out legal protection insurance.

Set up a business and let it known

You can take steps to make your company known at the latest after having completed the administrative formalities in contact with the bureaucracy. Various measures are suitable here depending on the sector of activity and your offer.

Indispensable in the all-digital age for virtually every business – whether it’s an online business idea or not, a personal website is the calling card of modern times.

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Formulate an entrepreneurial vision

As some marketing measures (and branding development if necessary) are very expensive, you should also take a serious look at your target group here: What media does he consume? What are the trends and what are their effects on your business and marketing? Which values ​​are important? What are your entrepreneurial vision and mission?

The right branding

As you build the website, it can be useful to start thinking about your own branding: Do you already have or do you need a logo – or even a brand name of your own? What colors and fonts should appear on your website as well as other office material? If you are indeed planning to build an end-to-end brand and position it, it is recommended that you bring in branding experts in any case.

Building a website is easy

You do not need to seek the services of programmers or you use a website design service, which creates the entire site for you. We invite you to consult our complimentary guides in our blog to identify the different types of websites, to know the price of a domain, and to know how much a website costs.

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Search engine marketing and social media

Once the branding and the website are in place, it is important to publicize the activity and the website. Different approaches lend themselves to this depending on the target group, for example via social media accounts, influencers, or cooperation with already established companies, ezines, etc.

Often, search engine advertising, i.e. targeted posting of advertisements to Google, also pays off.

The counterpart of this approach is SEO – or Search Engine Optimization of your content on search engines. This possibility remains however very ineffective for promoting your website if it contains only a small amount of content or pages, but SEO is essential for creating an online store with a plethora of content.

Other marketing measures

You should obviously not be satisfied with promoting your business online – leaflets, promotional activities on-site, the publication of advertisements in the written press or at stands at fairs and other exhibitions on your theme are all suitable possibilities. to introduce one’s self.

Summary: How to start a business?

The foundation of your own business must be carefully planned when aiming for success. The key steps to achieve this are:

  1. Develop a business idea or a commercial concept : What potential do my products or services have?
    • Outline a business model
    • Outline the structure of the company
    • Designate partners and service providers
    • Describe the profit model
  2. Create a business plan : how to finance my business creation?
    • Idea and key skills
    • Market and target group analysis
    • Company structure
    • Opportunities and Risks
    • Sales and marketing
    • Cost structure and profitability
  3. Organize business creation : banks, administrations, insurance
    • Secure funding
    • Find the right legal form
    • Registration with the Trade and Companies Register and with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    • Conclude insurance contracts
  4. Promote the company : marketing
    • Define the entrepreneurial vision and the brand
    • Create a website
    • Plan marketing measures
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