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Susanne Kleimst is an analyst and specialist journalist for the German-speaking area. She studied in Giessen and Berlin and now works as a freelance journalist in her adopted home, Stuttgart. Her main focus is on the areas of finance and insurance.

Financial tips for startups & founders: These financial hurdles need to be overcome

The step into self-employment needs to be carefully considered. Particularly financially. However, potential challenges should not be a reason to throw in the towel. Thorough preparation minimizes risks and paves the way for a promising phase. Overview of financial tips here.

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Bring order to chaos - accounts and bookkeeping

Whether freelancer, prospective shopkeeper or blogger: One of the central steps for the proper management of finances is to create a clear separation between private and business items. The opening of a business account is a prerequisite for this. All payments and incoming payments from the company are processed via this account. In order to keep the costs for accounts as low as possible, a price-performance comparison should be carried out.

Many banks incur fees not only for debit cards and account management, but also for all booking items. Depending on the number, it quickly becomes expensive. In addition, there are high interest rates on overdrafts. There is potential for savings with digital company accounts because the administrative effort for the provider is reduced to a minimum. Sometimes even free accounts are conceivable. In business account comparisons, for example, Holvi and Fyrst regularly emerge as winners.

Ordering is also crucial for accounting in order to save valuable time and thus costs in the long term. All receipts must be kept and sorted, invoices issued correctly and all preparations for the tax adviser carefully. The more conscientious documents are prepared for the expert, the faster he can, for example, create VAT returns, pay slips and annual accounts. When it comes to monthly bookkeeping, digital solutions allow founders to make significant savings. A good accounting software can be operated comfortably even with little experience, in order to speed up processes and to prevent paperwork.

Procure start-up capital - exhaust all possibilities!

Start-ups are faced with particular difficulties when it comes to raising start-up capital. Many banks do not grant loans due to the high risk. However, the lack of equity makes debt capital indispensable for the majority of startups. After all, a large number of investments have to be made. The spectrum of expenditure ranges from the purchase of goods, machines and office furniture to personnel costs and rent to insurance. We have arranged the central options of various lenders for a quick overview:

  • Loans from banks and cooperative banks: Where founders have their business account, they can apply for a loan to finance operating resources and investments. A distinction is made between medium and long-term investment loans and short-term working capital loans. How high the interest rate is depends on the value of the collateral and the credit rating. The latter is determined on the basis of gearing and equity ratio.
  • Promotional loan: There is support from the state for start-ups. Funds from the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) and the federal budget are used for this purpose. There is also financial help from the European Union and the federal states. Promotional loans are usually characterized by long terms and low interest rates. Redemption-free start-up times are also conceivable and relieve start-ups at least part of their financial pressure. KfW's promotional loan 058, for example, extends up to 500.000 euros and does not provide for any repayment installments in the first seven years. Details on the three current promotional loans can be found at KfW.
  • Supplier credits: If a supplier is only paid for the delivery of goods at a later date after consultation, this is referred to as a supplier credit.

High risk through underfunding

A major hurdle is not only the procurement of debt capital itself. Underfunding is extremely problematic. Many startups bleed financially after just a few months because they were far too reluctant to budget and calculated tightly. This often happens in connection with bank loans, because borrowing as a founder is already difficult and capital is provided only slightly. Underfunding can mean the end of a young company, even though it is developing positively.

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If there is a lack of money, due to Liquidity shortages for example, no materials are purchased for new orders. This creates a dangerous downward spiral that makes it impossible to win new customers. It is therefore essential for start-ups to realistically assess their need for outside capital and to plan a sufficient buffer. The attitude must not be to get by with as little money as possible. Instead, as much as necessary has to be financed externally.

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Sales planning tips

In addition to financing the start-up, sales planning plays an elementary role in the start-up phase. After all, a business can only be successfully built if the offer is also sold. No matter whether it is a service or goods. In the video of the start-up platform, a project initiated by KfW and the Federal Ministry of Economics, expert Jan Evers reveals practical tips for the sensible planning of sales:

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