Business Plan & Business Model Canvas

Entrepreneurial risk can be significantly reduced by careful start-up planning.

Business Plan
The Business Plan is a timetable for self-employment, a well-honed schedule in which you lay down what your plan is and what needs to be done if the start-up is to be a success. First and foremost, it is an important tool for the founder personally. But it is also a document for investors, banks and savings banks who want to know whether a start-up idea is sound. Or as a submission to the Agentur für Arbeit [Employment Agency] or the jury in a competition.

Important topics of a business plan are:

  • Your product or service: What exactly do you want to offer your customers? How does this offer differ from that of the competitors?
  • The marketing: What benefit does your offer, i.e. your product or service, have for the customer? Only if it benefits all or some customers in some way can you sell it. At what price should the product or service be offered? How does the product get to the customer? How do customers find out about this product or service?
  • Financial planning and financing: How much money do you need for the start-up and the start-up phase? (= capital requirement)? From which sources should this start-up capital come? How much income and expenses are likely to be in the first three years? How much of this money will remain at your free disposal (= liquidity)? How much profit is your company expected to generate in the first three years (= profitability)?

    In a profitability forecast, the expected turnover is compared with the probable costs. Self-employment and a business model are profitable if the turnover is higher than all operating costs and, in addition, an acceptable profit is made. A profitability forecast should cover three financial years. It is normal for profitability to be rather low in the early phase after start-up and to increase gradually.

    For your own profitability forecast, you should consult the turnover and costs of comparable companies. These are available from the Chambers of Industry and Commerce and Chambers of Crafts, Starter Centres and also start-up and management consultants who specialise in your sector. Exact turnover figures for many companies can be found in the Commercial (under Accounting / Financial reports).

Checklist capital requirements

Checklist financing plan

Checklist liquidity forecast

Checklist profitability forecast

More information on drawing up a Business Plan

Business Plan Support

IHK Berlin: If you have already created a concept and are not sure to what extent the representation is bankable, the IHK Berlin offers afeedback session for your business plan. You can draw up your business plan online When you are logged in to the founders’ workshop, you can develop your business plan with detailed assistance. A tutor from IHK Berlin is available if you have questions that cannot be answered in the learning units and work modules of the founders’ workshop.

Berlin-Brandenburg business plan competition: You can submit your business concept to the competition here. In three phases, two jurors evaluate the concept and give feedback and points. The best concept in each case receives prize money. In the third phase, a concept will also be awarded the BPW Sustainability Prize.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas helps you get an overview of the most important key factors of a successful business model.  What makes it special is its method. For each key factor, ideas are written down in keywords on post-it notes and stuck in a template. The advantage is that the post-it notes can be repeatedly renewed when you have new information.

Through this visually supported approach, a large number of individual ideas can be combined into a modular business model until a marketable model is found.  

The following video shows you how to create a canvas:

Skilled Trades

For start-ups in skilled trades, you can find specific information about drawing up a business plan at the Berlin Chamber of Crafts.


Ihe IQ Competence Centre for the Migrant Economy provides instructions for business plans for secondary income, main sources of income and in 12 different languages.