Everything you need to know about your business plan

Get your business idea to the point

A well-designed business plan is as useful as a Swiss army knife in many ways: it allows you to bring structure into the unpredictable future, to deal with possible problems and to give future partners and investors insight into your plans. In addition, with a well-structured business plan you minimise the risk of loss and exploit your potential much better.

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The business plan is the guideline for your business success

A serious business plan significantly reduces your risks and increases the potential for success.

The business plan helps you to plan the business of your company. It should not be a static document that is once captured and then dusted. Further adapt the business plan to your company's development. A business plan does not always have to comprise 40 pages. We recommend that you carry out your business plan as concisely as possible and in as much detail as necessary.

Among other things, focal points depend on the following factors:

Your project

If you are self-employed, a simple planning is often sufficient. Already the commercial independence requires a somewhat more detailed planning to investments, stock levels etc. frequently. For industrial projects or business ideas in the growth sector (e.g. Internet, mobile, high-tech), detailed planning is indispensable due to the complexity and/or size.

Development phase of your company

Is the company a classic startup or an established company? The advantage of drawing up plans for established companies is that they are based on experience. With completely new business ideas or models, one feels one's way through analyses and experiences in related areas to a realistic forecast.

Target audience

Should the plan be used to find investors or financiers, convince potential partners or review one's own plans? If you create the plan only for yourself, you can consider the individual chapters as a "toolbox", which you can use as required. Investors, on the other hand, expect a complete, well-founded and formally flawless plan.

Do not try to plan first in isolation and then strictly implement this plan - planning and operational activities should always go hand in hand. Only then will your valuable experience and information flow into a realistic and updated plan.

A good business plan does not necessarily need to be long. The most important factor is that you cover the relevant interest of your adressee.

You - Map out your idea

The business plan is the ideal way to map out your ideas. By writing your thoughts onto paper you are forced to define your target group and their individual needs. Furthermore, you will look into your finances and determine where you spend money and make sales. By writing a business plan you will get an idea if your company is sustainable or not.

Future Partners - Convince of your concept

If you are looking for future business partners in financial or support activities, the easiest way to convince them is with a logically structured and conclusive business plan.

Banks – Obtaining Loans

If you need to borrow capital from a bank they will always want to look at your business plan. They will assess the plausibility and productivity of your start-up, thus determining their return on investment. For that reason your business plan should also look the part (i.e. layout, pictures, graphics etc.). If the bank decides to invest they will want to know your ability to meet financial obligations and a guarantee of payment of loan. A thorough liquidity planning is therefore essential.

Equity Investors – Seed and Growth Capital

A thorough business plan is also helpful when looking for equity. Especially business angels and venture capitalists will want to see your plan. Investors will be interested in the value of the equity, the offer for participation and expected return on investment.

Public and Private Sponsorships - Winning Prize Money at startup competitions

In most startup competitions you can win seed capital without having to give away a share of your company. Your startup is mostly assessed by a panel of experts and compared with the competitors. A thorough and flawless business plan will increase your chances of winning.

With the so-called «TAKE OFF!» model, STARTUPS.CH has developed a general concept that will make it easier for you to create your business plan. With «TAKE OFF!» you can structure your business plan and develop it step by step. This is not only efficient and saves time - our consulting team also works with it. So we can support you in the best possible way. Each letter of «TAKE OFF!» stands for a planning step with several subchapters. STARTUPS.CH recommends you to work out the individual steps chronologically from «T - activity» to «! – Summary & miscellaneous».

At the beginning, startup companies should be content with basic planning and continuously improve it.

If a company is before or in the middle of being founded, there is often a great deal of uncertainty regarding potential customers, competitors or one's own strengths. Detailed information or even experience is rare. In this phase you should refrain from extensive detailed planning. Important are fundamental analyses - for example of the market - and an initial strategic and operative basic planning on which you can build.

In the course of your operational activities and through contacts with customers, suppliers and competitors, you will gather experience and information - the basic planning should now be revised and refined. The result is more realistic planning, which will promote your growth success.

One last important note: Do not try to plan first in isolation and then strictly implement this plan - planning and operational activities should always go hand in hand. This is the only way to incorporate your valuable experience and information into a realistic and updated plan.

The financial planning shows you how the financial situation of the company will develop if all objectives are achieved according to plan.

In order to create a clean financial planning, you should go through the six process steps listed above.

Start with sales planning and estimate your expected revenues from products sold or services rendered.

You then look at your expenses and try to record them with values as well - individual expenses (e.g. depreciation or interest expenses) cannot be quantified at this point. The capital requirement shows which costs, investments (including depreciation) and cash and cash equivalents are required to achieve the planned turnover.

Once you know how many funds you need, they must be financed through equity or debt. This results, among other things, in interest expenses and dividend payments, which in turn complete the income statement. Liquidity planning is one of the most important planning calculations, especially in view of the numerous insolvencies of many companies in the first few years. It can be derived from the income statement. An initial and final balance sheet and any key figures round off the financial planning.

Content and structure of a business plan

A good business plan must be clearly structured and cover all important topics. Here we give you an overview of the typical structure of a business plan. The key data mentioned here are based on the TAKE-OFF concept, which we have developed and which covers all essential contents.

Management Summary: Summary of the business idea

Content: Summary of the business idea

Number of pages: 1-2

Your business plan in short form. You outline the business idea or business model, the strategy, the offer, the target market, the entrepreneur team and the key data of the financial planning such as turnover, profit and capital requirements.

Activity: Idea, business model and founders

Content: Idea, business model and founders

Number of pages: 3-4

  • Business idea: Industry, project, origin of the idea
  • Business model: Range of services, provision of services, partners
  • Company: Registered office, name, legal form, date of incorporation
  • Founder suitability: Personal suitability, qualifications, competencies, experience, other managing directors
  • Offer: Overview of products and services, customer needs and benefits, research & development (follow-on products, product innovation, patents)

Customers: Market and target groups

Content: Market and target groups

Number of pages: 2-3

  • Market: Market overview, action radius, customers, market volume, target market share, market assessment (trends, growth rates, entry barriers)
  • Target groups: Target group, customer segments, prioritization

Competition: Industry and competitors

Content: Industry and competitors

Number of pages: 2-3

  • Industry sector: Industry Sector, Suppliers, Substitute Products, Buyer Power, Competitive Pressure from Competitors
  • Competitors: Number of competitors, direct and indirect competition, strengths, weaknesses, market position, products

Market Entry: Positioning, marketing mix, turnover

Content: Positioning, marketing mix, turnover

Number of pages: 4-5

  • Positioning: (USP) Unique selling proposition, price advantage or differentiation, own market position
  • Market entry: Product and assortment design, pricing, sales, communication
  • Sales planning: Business areas, sales planning

Organization: Tasks, Structure, Location, Infrastructure

Content: Tasks, Structure, Location, Infrastructure

Number of pages: 3-4

  • Processes: Core tasks, manufacturing, management, business and support processes and administration
  • Organizational structure: Organizational units, authority to issue directives, decision paths and employees, areas of responsibility and responsibilities, organizational chart
  • Location & infrastructure: Production and sales locations, advantages and disadvantages of the chosen location, infrastructure, production facilities

Outlook: Opportunities and risks, strengths and weaknesses, milestones

Content: Opportunities and risks, strengths and weaknesses, milestones

Number of pages: 2-3

  • Opportunities and risks: Internal and external opportunities and risks
  • Strengths and weaknesses: Strengths and weaknesses in processes, organization or customer base
  • Milestones: Market and product targets, break even

Finance: Income statement, capital requirements, financing, key figures

Content: Income statement, capital requirements, financing, liquidity, balance sheet, key figures

Number of pages: 5-6

  • Sales and expenses: Sales and expense planning, income statement
  • Capital requirements and financing: Investments, cash requirements, start-up costs, financing requirements, borrowed capital and equity capital
  • Liquidity: Planning of cash and cash equivalents, cash and cash equivalents
  • Balance sheet: Comparison of assets and liabilities
  • Key figures: Profitability, financing, liquidity

Appendix: CVs, broschures etc.

Content: CVs, brochures etc.

Number of pages: individual

  • CVs, detailed calculations and analyses, brochures, etc.

Plan and manage your business successfully

With the Business Planner that we have developed for you.

The free version of our Business Planner already offers you insight into real example plans, creating instructions for the plan as well as dos and don'ts. Financial planning is also available free of charge. The full version also offers a comparison with industry figures and full export functions. If required, our experts can put your plan through its paces - after completing your plan, select the «Check business plan» menu item in the software.

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