In Germany you can hardly set up your company without a business plan – especially not, when you ask for financial assistance by the state or other associations.
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A business plan should provide the following topics:
First page: Business Plan of [name – company name]
(e.g. Samuel Miller - Miller Translation Services)
When you start your business officially
Summary of the business plan
What kind of business
Solely translation services or do you also offer office services?
What benefits will I receive from this business and what can it be for others?
Any kind of specialisation which could be certainly needed in the close area (working in a city where there are many banks, or are there hospitals close by for interpreting work, etc.)
Date when you start your business
Why do you want to set up this business and how
Information about your background
(education, work experience, soft skills – everything that qualifies you for running your business)
(do you have to register your business at a certain registry office?)
Necessary for tax matters.
If you also offer office services they might be rather needed in a city than in a village. As a translator, you may work most times on the Internet and most clients will be based worldwide, sothe location is not very important – except for having a stable and fast internet connection.
Management and personnel
(in general it’s only oneself)
A detailed list. You can add new services whenever you like. Main thing is to have an idea of what you want to do.
The target group
Define your target group. Do you only want to work for agencies or outsourcers? Are you interested in getting in contact with end-clients?
List all fix costs, variable costs, other costs that you will/might need to set up and run your business. Also prepare a sheet in which you plan how much you will have to earn on which service per month. Keep in mind that there could be less work in summer and it needs to be earned ahead.*
Marketing (defining strategies)
Depending on your target group, you have a variety of possibilities how to promote your business.
Where do you want to go to? What do you want to achieve? What makes you to run the business? Do you only want to get rid of commuting and/or colleagues? Do you want to have the chance to work at night as you can work best at those hours? Do you want to work at home to be more available for your family?
Chances and Risks
What are the chances that your business will be successful? What risks are possible to give you a hard time? How do you want to avoid these risks and what can you do when things go into the wrong direction?
These are the topics to be thought of when you are preparing a business plan. It shall prove to others that you have really thought of your business as such. If you do not need to provide this business plan to any authority or association, it will help you to get a clear view of what you do right now, what do you plan to do, and how you could enhance your business.
*Regarding Calculation, do not forget to think of your office costs such as rent (possibly partially of your normal rent), electricity, taxes, equipment (incl. amortisation if possible), communications, etc. But you should also think about how much money you will earn within the next twelve months, three years. Considering the inflation, you should add 3% - 5% per year on your costs to be prepared how much you should earn in two or three years. You can also see, if your actual monthly income meets the plan you had made before.
Defining all these things – especially the calculation – will help you to plan ahead and to find possibilities how you could strengthen your business (e.g. by changing or enhancing your marketing strategies).