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The capital requirement in the business plan: How is your start-up financed?


One of the most important questions your business plan answers is how much money do you need for your startup and where should it come from? That’s what you explain to your readers under the headline Capital Requirements and Financing .

It is important to determine your capital requirements as accurately as possible. If you estimate it too low, you can run out of money halfway and you’ll end up in financial trouble, even if your business is on the right track. If you calculate the capital requirement too much, you unnecessarily burden yourself with high interest rates.

If in doubt, however: Dear too much, too little. It’s easier to give back a loan that you do not need than later to refinance (it’s even ruled out for many public subsidies).

How accurate your capital requirements plan will be depends on how well you’ve worked in forecasting your sales and liquidity planning, and how well you know your spending. Because all these numbers are included in the calculation of capital requirements. If, for example, you judge your sales too optimistic in the beginning, which unfortunately happens to many founders, you have a problem later: your money is then not enough to bridge this time.


This is how the need for capital comes together

To estimate how much money you need to start up, you need to know how much

  • your start-up costs ,
  • your investments
  • the capital requirements in the start-up phase and
  • your liquidity reserve

will fail. When you count these items together, you know the total capital needed for your creation. But what exactly is behind it?

1. The founding costs

1. The founding costs

The start-up costs include everything you spend in the months leading up to the foundation to help you get started in the business of self-employment. Typical start-up costs are notary and consulting fees, license fees, brokerage fees or training costs.

If you write your business plan with , for example, you can later claim tax on the user fees as start-up costs.

2. Investments

2. Investments

Different from the start-up costs are the investments, ie the money you put into machines, computers or the equipment of your business premises, before you can start your business.

The biggest investments usually have to be made in the beginning. A good business plan, however, is characterized by the fact that it also considers later stages of growth, especially if these are to be expected within the first three years.

If it is foreseeable that you will invest again in the time your business plan applies, you should explain that in your plan and have an idea of ​​where that money should come from.

3. Capital requirements in the start-up phase

3. Capital requirements in the start-up phase

Many founders are down in the first few months. This is normal and not necessarily a sign that your business idea is not working. For some it takes until their offer has spread and they have gained enough customers. Others are busy first with the acquisition, then with the processing of their orders and only then can make their first bills. This can take months until the first money goes into your account. Still, they have to pay their rent, pay their staff – and of course they have to live on something.

In this time, it is zuzuluttert – whether from their own savings or debt. If you have described in your business plan how your sales and liquidity will develop after the start and how high your monthly operating costs will be, you can figure out how much money you need to make up for the shortfall and get through the start-up phase.

Los racing and stumble directly over the first hurdle? This does not happen to you with a well planned financial reserve.

4. Prepared for everything: A buffer for the unforeseen

In addition, you should reserve a reserve for unplanned expenses. In a company can not plan everything. It can happen over and over again that your income decreases at times or your expenditure rises – it is, because a machine fails, because you must wait longer for the money of a client, because in the summer holidays the customers stay away or the tax office demands a hefty tax demand. With sufficient liquidity reserves you are prepared for cases like these.


Thorough planning is a must for founders – always

Thorough planning is a must for founders - always

Even if you only need a little money to start your own business and your own savings or a loan from the family are sufficient, you should create a capital requirement plan! Otherwise it can happen that the money is not enough and you have to put on a quick financing later on the legs. It is too late for many public support programs, as they can only be used for projects that have not yet started. Apart from that, it gives you and your private backers a good feeling knowing what you’ve agreed to do together.

Incidentally, the capital requirements calculation is the prerequisite for your profitability forecast . After all, it’s not just about being able to pay the running costs one day. Your company will not be a real financial success until your loans are repaid or possible.


The financing

The financing

Once the capital requirement you have calculated exceeds your equity, you need financing . In Germany, most start-ups are financed through a classic bank loan. In addition, there are public subsidies with which the state would like to help founders to start their own business.

These funding programs have very different priorities: some aim at promoting start-ups, others at projects with low capital requirements. Some are specific to certain industries, others are regional. Some include grants that do not have to be repaid, others provide a guarantee to increase the collateral of the founder and pave the way for greater bank financing.

Find out if there is a suitable program for starting your business. Your house bank can advise you. You can also contact directly the funding agencies such as KfW or a start-up consultancy in your city.


Excursus: The start-up grant

Excursus: The start-up grant

A special form of state business start-up support is the start-up grant . It makes it easier for people to become self-employed out of unemployment.

Only founders who are still entitled to unemployment benefit 1 of at least 150 days can apply. If this promotion is for you, you should not lose any time!

Prerequisite for the start-up grant is that you submit a business plan and the opinion of a competent body to the responsible employment agency, which confirms the viability of starting your business. The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Chambers of Crafts, start-up centers or even banks and savings banks are recognized as expert bodies.

Your business plan should show that you can end your unemployment with your business idea and secure your own long-term existence. At the same time, it should be apparent from the numbers that support is needed during the start-up phase because your revenue is not yet enough to cover operating expenses and your living expenses. If your company is profitable from the very first day on, the employees of the employment agency will ask themselves what you need at all a debt in the form of a public subsidy.

Among the more than 30 business plans that we provide to users of as a template are several that have led to the granting of the start-up grant. One of them is the business plan for a communication consultancy. The founder makes it clear that she can cover the total capital requirement for her company in the amount of approx. 22,000 euros only partly from own and external funds. The missing capital wants to finance it through the start-up subsidy. She writes: “The determination of the capital requirement shows that the foundation only has the necessary financial resources if a current account credit (€ 10,000) is used and the employment agency participates with a start-up grant.”

In order to increase your chance of being supported by the start-up grant, we have specially prepared a sample business plan for this purpose. When you use it to create your business plan, you will receive tips on each chapter to get the start-up grant.


How much equity do you need?

How much equity do you need?

It is always good if, like our role model founder, you can cover part of your capital requirements with your own funds. On the one hand you lower your interest burden and on the other hand the risk for your financiers – because in case of loss you have to believe in your savings first. At the same time, using equity capital proves that you are convinced of your own business idea, and you feel that your financiers feel that you are doing everything for the success of your business.

In general, an equity stake of 20 to 25 percent is a prerequisite to get financing – especially if it is a bank loan. But there are also foundations that have been funded with 0 percent equity. That depends, among other things, on the business idea.


Increase the equity ratio with contributions in kind

Increase the equity ratio with contributions in kind

What many do not know: Even contributions in kind , which you bring in your business start-up, can be counted as equity. This can certainly be significant, especially for companies with manageable capital requirements. In our example of communication consulting, the founder brings her already existing computer, a printer and a camera into the foundation. This adds up to a value of 820 euros, which is added to its equity.

At you can insert each contribution in kind with its value individually. Then use our calculation aid for depreciation to simply select the period over which the respective contribution in kind is to be amortized (for computers, generally a useful life of three years, for shelves or other office furniture from eight to thirteen years is used).


The key figure check

You now know how much money you need to put into your business in the first few years and how much you can raise from that amount from your own resources and have described both in your business plan. What you’re missing is funding for the amount that is still open.

Before you go out to win money with your business plan, we advise you to take a close look at it again. You can check whether the numbers are more likely to upset or exasperate your bank accountants. Your key data in the business plan automatically calculates key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluates them from the point of view of potential financiers.

If the KPI traffic light turns green, it means: All right, your backers will be thrilled. Orange means: Attention – at this point, your backers will surely have some questions. Provide convincing reasons why your company is still a success. Red, on the other hand, signals to you: Stop! Here you have to go again – also in your own interest.


Your house bank as a partner by your side

Your house bank as a partner by your side

As soon as the key figures are correct and the business plan is ready, the next step is on your way to becoming self-employed: the bank conversation. Prepare yourself thoroughly. Not only do your funders want to know everything about your business idea, they also want to see if you have what it takes to implement it. Show them through a confident demeanor that you believe in your idea, that you know what you’re getting into, and that you’re ready to do anything to make them succeed.

It’s best to practice the presentation a few times with joy or with the mirror, so that it runs smoothly over your lips. Your lecture should be easy to understand and not longer than 10 minutes. Helpful is a graphical overview that reveals at a glance the central relationships of your founding. How about bringing a business model canvas to the bank conversation? With our digital SmartCanvas tool , it’s easy to visualize your business idea in this way.

At the end of your presentation, you should name the capital requirement and clearly state what you want from your counterpart, for example, “For the implementation of my business idea, I need from you a loan in the amount of xy Euro. The money will be used to finance operating costs in the initial phase and for investment. “

In the ensuing discussion, it will be all about whether your idea is marketable: why do you think people will buy your offer? The more evidence you provide for this assumption, the better. First sales or orders are the best proof. But resonating with a homepage or talking to potential customers can also provide convincing evidence that there is a market for your product.


These documents want to see your financiers

For your bank conversation, you should take the following documents:

  • Your business plan including attachment (even if you have already sent it to your house bank)
  • Evidence of your equity and the collateral you provide to your lender (bank statements, securities account statements, etc.)
  • A current Schufa information
  • Possibly. a business model canvas

In addition, a prototype of your product or a short video can not hurt – especially if your business idea is very unusual. Check with your bank before, what is usual there or desired.


Well planned is half won

With a convincing business plan and good preparation, chances are good that you will get funding to start your business. supports you in a variety of ways: the business plans of real founders, all of which have led to successful financing, serve as a template and source of inspiration, our digital assistants make it easier for you to calculate in the financial section, in the lexicon you can read central terms and the key figure check says you, whether your business plan is already ready for financing or should be revised.


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