Business plan & Co: Many formalities for founders
Create a business plan, register with the finance and trade office and take care of the financing - starting a business is not a walk. Young entrepreneurs have to answer around 450 questions in 20 different questionnaires.
Often enough, the same or slightly different data for financial administration, social security, professional associations, the employment agency and for a large number of authorities and institutions must be entered and recorded. Too much effort, which ultimately discourages many willing to start up a business.
Annoying formality for founders?
For many start-ups, the business plan is just an annoying formality on the way to financing. But that doesn't have to be the case: Because such a plan offers the opportunity to test your own business idea for strengths and weaknesses, to rethink the marketing strategy and the financing.
But the best business idea is of no use if it cannot be implemented due to lack of funding. This is exactly where many start-ups fail. But that need not be. Properly prepared for the credit discussion and knowing what is important can convince the bank employee - provided, of course, the business idea is good.
1. Cost planning
You plan not only for yourself, but also have to convince potential investors of your business plan. For your business plan, you need an exact sales and revenue planning, consisting of the components cost planning, sales planning, profitability forecast and liquidity plan.
Decisive for your success is the amount of the total costs incurred. Also possibly incurred personnel costs and the calculatory entrepreneurial wages - thus your own reward - must be calculated. Remember, you also have to earn your own living expenses before you can continue to invest in your business.
2. Sales planning
The basis of your profitability plan is the turnover. They too must be predicted as accurately as possible. Carefully estimate your potential revenue! Start-ups in particular expect high sales in the beginning.
3. Profitability forecast
A profitability forecast is the comparison of calculated costs and expected income. The profitability forecast is usually prepared for a period of at least three years.
4. Liquidity planning
Through an accurate liquidity planning, you can calculate whether you have enough money in the coming months to pay for and open up outstanding invoices.
5. Funding opportunities
Office equipment, computers, fax machines, printers and simple business equipment with business cards, stationery and business homepage: the list of necessary investments is long.
Part of this expenditure can certainly be raised with equity. In many cases, however, there are also major investments to be made. Public funding programs, e.g. from the employment agency, the federal government or the federal states, can also be used for this purpose. In addition to start-up grants, the KfW Mittelstandsbank, for example, offers cheap loans for entrepreneurs.
In the best case, the founder has equity, because no regular income is to be expected in the start-up phase. For this reason, an entrepreneur should always have a monthly salary on the high edge in order to react to revenue losses.
Otherwise you risk your liquidity. In addition, equity is a criterion of creditworthiness: In negotiations with lenders, the amount of available equity plays a crucial role. Tip: A founder should be able to cover at least 15 percent - ideally 30 percent - of the total financing requirement through equity capital.
7. Debt capital
In the case of a larger financing requirement, it is usually not possible to have borrowed capital. Depending on the runtime, there are different possibilities:
- Current account credit: In the short term, you can cover your financing requirements by means of current bank overdraft over the current business account (current account). Advantage: The processing runs fast and uncomplicated. Disadvantage: Comparatively high interest rates are incurred.
- Loans: In the medium and long term, you can ensure your capital requirements through a bank loan. Before you consult your house bank, however, you should check whether public funding programs are suitable for you. In case of doubt you should have a business start-up consultant. This is not only an advisory service, but also accompanies you during bank talks.
8. Choosing the right account
Founders can also save a lot with the right checking account and the right bank. So my old account, which is only free with a certain monthly payment, was more than impractical for me as a self-employed person, because the money does not flow in regular installments but mostly at once (e.g. quarterly or project-wise).
Of course, such an account change is not a small step, because I had to inform all customers and everyone who wants money from me - this is usually a few more for the self-employed than for the employees. But there is better, if not to say free offer. Even for the self-employed, who should not be unsettled by the “You can only open a business account” chatter from the banks (that's not true!), But the banks naturally want to earn extra money on business customers. After much deliberation, it was so far and far quicker and easier than expected. So: check options!
9. Pay attention to the tax
An important aspect, which should also be included in the financial planning, is the tax: What should you pay close attention to? In addition to more complicated types of tax, such as trade or corporation tax, there are two types of tax that affect virtually all self-employed people right from the start.
Income tax: completely or not at all
The income tax is paid on the profit. Profit means: sales minus operating expenses. Operating expenses are costs that arise in connection with self-employment. Important: the respective expenditure must be professional and not private. Running costs - “completely or not at all”: The home office, which is half a guest room, may not be sold half, but not at all.
The following also applies to a business trip plus vacation: If you cannot separate private and professional costs, you have to bear the entire travel costs privately. In the case of mixed use, the proportion of professional use is recognized as a business expense by the faults of cars, telephones and PCs. Different with long-term purchases:
The costs can be deducted if it can be demonstrated that more than 10% of them are used for professional purposes. In the case of private use, however, a corresponding amount must be booked as operating income.
How does that work with sales tax or VAT?
As a consumer, you know sales tax as a nuisance when shopping: on everything you buy, you have to pay sales tax in addition to the purchase price - and that always makes your purchase more expensive. As an entrepreneur, however, it is different: you are not only allowed to pass on the sales tax to your customers, but also to keep the input tax that you yourself have paid for your goods and work equipment.
From the value added tax, which goes to the tax office, the entire value added tax can be deducted from the operating expenses. This amount is the input tax. It is favorable if you can deduct the input tax at a flat rate. For everyone else, the calculation of input tax is quite tedious: at the end of the year, you have to deduct the value added tax individually from all of your expenditure receipts. So that this does not become too expensive, you should separate all expenses in the accounting from the beginning in two columns according to the net amount and VAT. The following applies: VAT is only included where it says VAT. No input tax can be deducted from receipts on which neither a VAT rate nor the VAT amount is recorded. Since 2004, input tax deduction has only been allowed on invoices that meet the requirements of the sales tax law. As a rule, input tax may not be deducted from emergency receipts. And this is exactly how it works:
- As an entrepreneur, you not only show the purchase price on your invoices, but also the sales tax., The sales tax that you receive from your customers in this way is then passed on to the tax office.
- Only if you, as a small business owner, are exempt from VAT, your customers do not have to pay VAT. However, you are not allowed to show them on your invoices or to withhold input tax.
- Reduced sales tax: There are some goods and services for which only a reduced tax rate of seven percent has to be collected and paid. This reduced tax rate applies, for example, to the granting, transfer and management of copyrighted works or to the transportation of people by rail within a municipality.
- Obligation to the tax rate: Which goods and services have to be billed at which tax rate is, by the way, precisely defined by law: The VAT reduction is not an optional service: If you enter an incorrect tax rate, even if it is by mistake, and this during a tax audit is determined, you may still have to correct invoices after years.
10. Attention bankruptcy
Financial planning also includes the possibility of bankruptcy. Because thanks to the complicated tax law, this is faster than one would like. The new regulation of the insolvency proceedings brought at least the simplification of the insolvency proceedings for consumers, a regulation for the insolvency consolidation of license agreements and a strengthening of the creditor position in the insolvency proceedings.
If you actually go bankrupt, you will need an insolvency administrator. As a rule, only lawyers and authorized public and private bodies and persons are permitted to provide such legal advice in accordance with the Legal Advice Act. Other private debt, bankruptcy or financial advisors are not authorized to do so and cannot claim remuneration for this.
A financial advisor may only initiate insolvency proceedings if he is authorized to do so under the Legal Advice Act. The district court of Coburg decided that. In one specific case, a financial advisor had conducted preparatory negotiations for insolvency proceedings that focused on the legal rather than the economic side, as the primary concern was to initiate the relevant legal process. The financial service provider was not authorized to do this and therefore had to pay back his fee.
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