At the beginning of their work, founders face the challenge of writing a business plan to realistically assess where to go with their own business. But how does this look like? What is important? And where do you have to be careful? We talked to Fabian Brunner, startup coach and coordinator of the Munich Business Plan Competition (MBPW) at Baystartup, and got the most important tips for startups.
What are the first steps when a founder wants to write a business plan? What information is needed for this and how can Baystartup support it?
On the Baystartup website our manual for the creation of business plans is available for free download. The manual exemplifies what a finished business plan looks like. For those who are new to business planning, there are countless videos, textbooks and sample business plans or pitch decks from successful companies on the Internet that can be used to get an idea of how such a finished plan is roughly then End looks like. For the exact implementation, questions and the fine tuning there are our free business planning workshops, as well as the Bavarian business plan competitions.
What are the most common mistakes when creating a business plan?
The business plan does not exist. For example, a business plan for starting a business in the catering sector has very different key figures than one from the ICT sector. A business plan is not a product carved in stone, but rather serves as an explanation of the current situation and an idea of where you would like to be with your idea and your team over the next five years. The biggest mistakes are impropriety, inaccuracy and the swarming of your own idea. Business planning is primarily about the business. It is not a sales catalog of the product, the solution or the service offered.
In addition to business plans, there is also the possibility to work with formulated pitch decks. The preliminary work and preliminary considerations for what is ultimately in the document whether Pitchdeck or classic business plan, it is the same.
How strictly do entrepreneurs have to stick to the business plan? Is there a margin for change?
A business plan or a formulated pitch deck consists of facts that are known in the present and assumptions that might arrive due to logical contexts and intensive research. At Baystartup, we’re reluctant to talk about writing a business plan, but rather title the content we convey rather than business planning to make it clear that it’s a dynamic document.
A plan written in 2019 can not and will not predict what will happen in 2024. The plan is therefore indeed to be considered as a plan with objectives. It reflects whether the founders are in control of the present, that is, have researched sufficiently and gained sufficient experience of themselves and other stakeholders, and whether they can then make realistic assumptions about the future. There are many methods and techniques that even say that a business plan is superfluous, as methods such as lean startup, design thinking or agile development make the business plan obsolete.
We believe that one thing does not exclude the other, but that methods are complementary. In short, well-thought-out financial planning, a sprint in the sales model, an A / B test in pricing or the Business Model Canvas and so on are not methods or approaches that are fundamentally contradictory. It is up to the entrepreneur how he connects these methods and the results he derives from them. A business plan provides the framework for this and gives the company a time horizon.
Can a Business Model Canvas replace a business plan?
The Business Model Canvas can not replace the business plan in my opinion. However, a business model can be a good starting point for a business plan. A Business Model Canvas can also be a great help when faced with the challenge of adapting the business model to new and changing market conditions. Personally, I’m a fan of the Business Model Canvas and recommend it as a start to creating a business plan.
Where do founders get help creating their business plan?
With us, of course! My colleague Sebastian Bock and I hold basic workshops and compact workshops throughout Bavaria, of course also in Munich.
There are the following topics:
- business idea
- marketing and sales
- financial planning.
The three main focuses of the workshop content are tailored to the requirements of the MBPW.
The workshops are designed to give the participants as much and as much information as possible so that they can take the lead in the competition. All founders who submit their documents to the competition receive feedback from our expert jury. Currently we are working with about 300 honorary jurors – these are university professors, successful entrepreneurs, high-ranking corporates, consultants, investors – all from Bavaria together. They read the submissions and provide sound, written feedback on the plans. A team usually receives feedback from 8 to 10 experts on its submission. This is sometimes worth the money and gives the founders important and market-oriented information about what they can improve, as in their business model, or where they still need to check.
Phase 2 of the MBPW is ongoing
How does the MBPW work? Who can participate and what’s in it for the startups?
Everybody can participate. The more technological and scalable the idea and the associated business model is, the higher the chances of winning for the teams. Startups can choose whether they want to submit a business plan or a formulated pitch deck. In addition to feedback from the jurors, the teams will have the chance to be included in the Baystartup funding coaching. Here we work together with the teams on a financing round as needed. In addition, there are cash prizes totaling over 48,000 euros to win.