What should you do if you want to start your own company? The idea, business plan, legal form, financing, brand protection, insurance, notary appointments, contracts, etc. are some of the keywords on the way to founding a company. For many founders, founding their own company is a book with seven seals. Therefore, you will find 10 important steps in starting a business below.
If you want to get started straight away to set up your company, we recommend our free online solution Unternehmerheld. The clever start-up assistant puts together your start-up steps and has all the relevant forms ready for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 1st Step: The Planning Phase
- 2 Plan your company with guidelines and checklists
- 3 2nd Step: Main or Sideline?
- 4 3rd Step: Check trademarks and protect them if necessary
- 5 Speaking of Protection: Have you also thought of protection?
- 6 Step 4: Secure corporate financing
- 7 5th Step: Which permits are required?
- 8 Step 6: Company form, account, and contracts
- 9 7th Step: Clarify the location question
- 10 Step 8: Register with which office?
- 11 9th Step: The perfect external appearance
- 12 Step 10: Win customers
1st Step: The Planning Phase
Before you officially set up your company, the planning phase must be completed. According to KfW Gründungsmonitor, the average preparation time is seven months from the idea to the actual start of the company. However, 50% of all founders will be through with it in three months if they want to start their company. Of course, many founders initially play with the idea of founding a company for a long time. This is also shown by a look at the time of intensive preparation for the foundation, which includes the optimization of the idea, the business plan, and dealing with the authorities. This takes an average of 2.5 months, with over 50% of the founders taking less than a month.
Our tip: Take your time and pay close attention to a valid business model. This is followed by the detailed elaboration of your business plan, which forms the basis for a successful company formation. Pay particular attention to a realistic financial plan. It shows you how much capital is necessary and whether your planned company is worthwhile.
Plan your company with guidelines and checklists
For individual areas, we have already created extensive guidelines and checklists that will help you plan your own company well.
2nd Step: Main or Sideline?
The step into self-employment is a big risk for many founders. Therefore, numerous start-ups also try out part-time self-employment. However, whether you are setting up a company as a sideline or starting a full-time job does not matter for the basic requirements of the company formation. However, there are still a few things you need to consider if you are self-employed on a part-time basis.
3rd Step: Check trademarks and protect them if necessary
Many founders are breaking new ground with legal issues when setting up a company. But these are of great importance when founding a company and should not be neglected. Finally, the company should be able to be found at a suitable Internet address. The company name should be clear and unambiguous. Brand protection for the products and services secures the competitive position. However, it is important to remember that these issues are not a one-way street. When you set up a company, you have to be careful not to violate any existing property rights. We have put together further details for you in the section on industrial property rights.
Speaking of Protection: Have you also thought of protection?
When you start a company, it is also about avoiding risks – private and commercial – for self-employment. For many risks that you cannot control, there is insurance so that the financial impact does not mean that you end up self-employed early.
As far as the personal risks are concerned, you can decide during the first three months after setting up whether you want to take out statutory or private health insurance. As a rule, it makes sense to first compare the costs and services of private health insurances to then compare the best tariff with statutory health insurance. Get a free and non-binding private health insurance comparison.
Operational risks are primarily about identifying insurance needs. Because: Depending on the industry, different insurances can make sense – do the free needs analysis.
Step 4: Secure corporate financing
First of all, self-employment means investments and costs. And the savings are often not enough. The thought of the bank loan then quickly comes to many founders. But corporate finance can be diverse. The starting point is the financial plan that you created in the business plan. This shows what capital you need to set up your company. Funding, equity, loans, or grants can then be used for corporate financing: raise sufficient capital when you start your company.
Also, think about financing alternatives. In addition to the house bank and subsidies, there are also:
- Online loans up to 50,000
- Factoring – financing by eliminating open bills
5th Step: Which permits are required?
Do you like to cut hair and want to open a hairdressing salon? But it’s not that simple. This craft occupation falls under the master’s obligation. Even opening a restaurant before contacting the building authority is not recommended. Permits, permits, or specific qualifications may be required when starting a business. Find out more in advance before you have problems starting your own business: an overview of the necessary permits.
Step 6: Company form, account, and contracts
The company or legal form is associated with different requirements if you want to found the company and can noticeably extend the start-up process. While sole proprietorships or partnerships like the GbR are quick to set up, it takes longer for corporations like the GmbH or UG. The reasons for this are the appointments with the notary and the necessary entry in the commercial register. We have put together important factors for you to compare the types of company.
The opening of a business account is connected with the establishment. Corporations are only registered with the commercial register by the notary when the share capital has been paid in (usually on a business account). For freelancers and sole proprietorships, a separate business account is not necessary, but advisable – this is the only way to separate private and professional finances.
The subject of the necessary contracts is closely linked to the aspect of the legal form. However, you should not only think about the articles of association or the management contracts. Employment contracts for possible employees or general terms and conditions as well as templates for customer contracts should already be available at the start.
7th Step: Clarify the location question
If you are not starting your company within your own four walls, but renting an office, a shop, a workshop, or a restaurant, then it is important to consider the question of the suitable location. There are numerous important factors that you should take into account when choosing a location so that customers can find their way to you – to use the phrase: all roads lead to Rome.
Step 8: Register with which office?
Without offices, nothing works when you want to start a company. Numerous registrations are compulsory and there is a risk of fines if it is missed. And without a tax number from the tax office, you still can’t write invoices. But here too, progress is being made step by step. And so you are quickly on the home stretch when you start your company. We have put together which office to contact and when in the Register a company section. Particularly noteworthy is the business registration and, for corporations, the entry in the commercial register.
9th Step: The perfect external appearance
One of the preparations, when you start a company, is that you design your public image in the best possible way. This includes, for example, the company logo or the website as well as a correctly created invoice or legal aspects such as the imprint and the data protection declaration. The first impression counts – this applies to your company in customer contact as well as in the first meeting. So do your best and convince with a successful public image.
Step 10: Win customers
After planning and numerous formalities, you have successfully set up your company. But now it’s about generating sales and successfully entering the market. Many people might like to buy from you – but very few people know what you have to offer. And even if you are completely convinced of your products or your service – you still have to do a lot of convincing with potential customers. For this purpose, we have compiled the various ways of customer acquisition for you.
There are many ways to advertise your offer. There is no question that you are advertising. However, you should – also for budget reasons – design and implement a coherent marketing concept.