For many, the thought of a business plan hurts – and it is time to fundamentally change this reputation. In Germany, the employment office requires a business plan as a basis for making decisions about a start-up grant. Other founders have to write one because they want to raise capital. The business plan seems wooden, complicated, somehow out of date – and like something that only costs time but does not bring anything.
In truth, it can be a valuable tool to sharpen your own project. The business plan asks a number of questions about future business. Answering them is a mindfulness exercise for your own identity. In the case of classic self-employment, this may not be necessary: Anyone who owns a roofing company covers roofs. Anyone who owns a hair salon cuts hair or makes sure that the company runs.
It is different with the younger jobs. Today it is surprisingly difficult for self-employed and freelancers to sum up in one sentence what they actually do. That in itself is not a problem. And yet, after a few years of self-employment, many find that they are no longer following a clear line.
The business is fraying. Well-paid shredding may pay for the extra wishes of adult life – but they prevent expert status. And that’s dangerous for business. A business plan can help at any time of working life to get your own work back on track. The central question is: Who do you want to be self-employed?
What the business plan wants to know
The business plan is not precisely defined, but some chapters always belong in it. “Kapitel” may sound grandiose – but depending on the type of company, 2-3 paragraphs are enough. Offices in particular sometimes ask for short, precise answers: “Remember, I have to read all of this,” an employee of the employment agency said to me at the time and waved her hand in the direction of the waiting room, where more people like me were sitting and happy wanted a start-up grant.
A business plan starts with one Summary. I recommend writing it once at the beginning of work and then revising it when you’re done. Key question: What is the purpose of my work? You write that down in one sentence, then if necessary 3-4 sentences follow for explanation or justification. Not more. Get to the point, discipline yourself.
In the next step you write about yourself. Why are you the right ones Personalitiesto do your business? What can you do differently than others, maybe even better? Answering these questions is a good character school. Do you want to convince? Then don’t be shy.
You can proceed in more detail in the third step than in the summary. Under the title “Idea and target group ” summarize what you are up to and why people need it. I consider the analysis of the target group to be an extremely underestimated task in German economic thinking. Who should buy your idea? Why are they going to do this? Who are these people? What are they concerned with, what are they doing so far that convinces you that they are just waiting for your idea? Without a target group, the best idea is worthless. This should be the deepest section of the whole business plan.
In the next step you look at who yours Competitor are. Be honest. There are thousands of others like you guys? Never mind. It is the same for many. There is nobody like you? Better take a closer look. It is honesty with which you make the business plan valuable as a tool.
In the next chapter you will record that you are not at the mercy of the market. Which Goals and Strategies will make you more successful? If you already have a business and are fairly broadly based, this is the time to let marginal issues slip under the table. Get precise. Which line do you want to follow? Of course, there is a lot of money to be made by taking on every assignment. This is exactly how the self-employed work when they work themselves and constantly. Expert jobs are usually better paid. If you want that, then it’s time to refuse the jobs outside of your focus more often.
The Marketing plan can help you to question again how you get jobs. Perhaps you want to draw more attention to your work in social networks, or finally proactively address desired customers. Where are the people you want to work for? And how do you get to them? You have to clarify that.
A good business plan is both a kick and discipline
The question about Legal form, taxation and organization is usually done for a long time in running operations. Anyone who founds a new company: Be honest, get help. Read books about it, ask more experienced self-employed people. It’s not that difficult, but I cannot answer the question about the formalities here, it is too individual.
For the financial plan there are templates on the Internet. In addition to the business plan, I would advise in the first few years of self-employment to create a table in which you can see approximately when you will take what. I have entered in it monthly what income I expect. So I could see where I needed additional assignments in addition to the regular income. Creating this plan gives you an initial feeling of security. Whoever controls his income controls his business.
For the business plan you have to bring two things together: You have to have the courage to write convincingly about yourself. And you have to take the questions seriously. If you succeed, you will end up with a document in which you have clearly stated what you want from business life. Perhaps this document is only two pages long – no problem. Maybe it’s ten pages. That’s okay too, as long as you stick to the description of your personal brand essence.
You can then close the document and forget it, or you can keep checking back, updating something or remembering what you actually want. It is your personal, very focused letter of motivation for business. Because while the attitude of offices and possibly financiers is undoubtedly important, there is only one person who must always be convinced of you: yourself.