10 Tips for Taking the Step into Entrepreneurship

Every business idea is different, and each has its unique path. However, some fundamental aspects are more or less shared by all when planning a startup.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 14.02.2024

Below are some suggestions and tips to help you when embarking on the journey of self-employment:

1. Future Boss: Am I even an entrepreneurial type?

Get an idea of the daily life of entrepreneurs!
Perhaps you can speak with self-employed individuals personally, or you can read stories and interviews where founders share their everyday lives, successes, as well as problems and hurdles they face (such as in our founder stories about founders from MV). Consider whether you feel capable of this, because "self-employed" literally means "self" and "constant".

On the BMWi's website, you will find a checklist to support you in determining whether you meet the important requirements for professional self-employment.

2. Evaluate your business idea and your personal qualifications

Can your idea be implemented?
Clarify this in an initial check: Is there a demand for your offering, or can you create needs? Who are your potential customers? Where do you want to find them? How do you plan to reach them? Where could be a good location for your planned business? Who are your competitors? Where, with what services, and at what prices are they active? Very important: What distinguishes your offering from that of your future competition?

Present the business idea to your family or friends!
For most people, it is very important that the family fully supports the project. That makes things a lot easier! And if your family or friends aren't enthusiastic, make sure you listen to their arguments. Perhaps - and in the best case scenario - you will receive important advice and can adapt or even improve your business idea in certain areas.

Build an information network!
Your first point of contact for initial information should always be a local economic development agency, a chamber of commerce (IHK), a chamber of skilled crafts (HWK), the relevant employment agency or job center, startup consultants, or a local startup initiative. If there are costs involved, you can apply for a grant for consulting costs in certain cases through federal consulting support.

And don't forget:
What technical and business skills do you possess to implement the planned business idea? What do you still need?

The contacts in your information network can also help you here!

3. Take advantage of offerings for startup consulting or further education

Initial consultations are often free or subsidized. They are offered, for example, by chambers, associations, and private startup consultants. During these consultations, it quickly becomes apparent whether and what additional consulting and training needs you have. (Tip: On our portal, you can find a guide with contacts from MV who offer support in various areas.)

In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, numerous courses for startups are available, such as those funded in part by the state through the Bildungsscheck for startups and business successions. Accounting, taxes, law, internet, information about business plans, and many other important topics are taught in these courses. Participating in a course does not obligate you to start a business.

4. Write a Business Plan

Now the real work awaits you: Developing and writing the business plan (see also our article "Why do I need a business plan?").

For this, you will need detailed information on:

  • Your product / service
  • Your customers
  • Your competitors
  • Your location
  • Your prices
  • Your suppliers
  • Your potential workforce needs
  • Your communication and advertising measures
  • The possible legal form of your company
  • The opportunities and risks of your project
  • Your capital requirements and
  • The planned financing of these capital requirements.

To avoid typical mistakes, you shouldn't leave anything to chance with the business plan. The biggest weakness is often inadequate financial planning (see also our article "Financing: A decisive factor for success!"). It's especially important here: Don't plan too tightly!

5. Determine your financing needs

Once you know how much financial capital you require, assess whether you have sufficient startup capital. Typically, you will have some equity capital. However, this will rarely be enough. Therefore, you will need debt capital to bridge the gap.
Above all, don't forget: Since revenues are often low in the initial phase, you may need to financially bridge the startup phase.

6. Seek external financiers if needed

If your equity capital is insufficient, you can, for example, borrow money from a financial institution. Whether you receive a loan from the bank largely depends on the quality of your business plan and your personal presentation. Therefore, prepare well for the bank meeting! Only those who convince here have a chance of getting a loan (see also our article "Financing: 10 tips for the loan interview").

Another option for partial financing is federal or state subsidy loans. You can find out about available subsidy programs in our guide "Subsidy programs - the most important ones at a glance". If you want to start a business from unemployment, you can also apply for start-up grants from the Employment Agency or entry allowances from the Job Center (see our article "Successfully start in self-employment: Strategies for the unemployed on the way to a new start").

7. Clarify the formalities

When starting a business, there are many things to consider, including the fact that there are a number of formal requirements. Do you need a permit or authorization for the establishment of your company, or a professional competence examination? Where do you need to register your company? In our "Authority Guide for Startup Interests and Founders," you will find an overview of all the important authorities and offices that could be relevant to your business start-up.

8. Take care of your personal and business security

Ensure adequate and tailored protection - for yourself, your family, and your business!
Definitely clarify which private and business accident insurance, health and long-term care insurance, and retirement provisions are necessary and suitable for you. Even if you want to remain a member of your statutory health insurance, you must apply for this. Also, consider your previous statutory pension insurance, which does not automatically continue as before with business start-up. Consider whether you want to voluntarily insure yourself in the unemployment insurance.
Comprehensive information on the topic of which insurances you as a self-employed person may need can be found in our article "Which insurances does my business really need?"

9. Prepare your entrepreneurial appearance

As an important step before starting your self-employment, you should consider a professional appearance: This includes, for example, a logo, business cards, letterhead, and also an informative and effective website. Don't forget about social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn... If you're not skilled in this area, you may want to consider hiring an agency or at least seeking advice. Poorly executed marketing can have negative consequences for your new company! There are many pitfalls, such as addressing your target audience incorrectly or unintentionally causing annoyance, appearing "unprofessional," having a website or Facebook presence that discourages rather than motivates potential customers, or making legal mistakes...

10. Utilize consulting services even after you start your self-employment

Shortly after starting your self-employment, things often don't go as planned. Perhaps unforeseen tasks come your way. To overcome these hurdles correctly, make use of suitable consulting services! This way, you avoid mistakes, save time, and costs. Even if something goes wrong, seek help and support as soon as possible! For example, chambers of commerce and crafts have business advisors for their members. With the help of the nationwide funding program "Promotion of consultancy services for SMEs," as a young entrepreneur, you can also afford a business consultant. You pay a low contribution for consulting services of up to € 2,800.00.

Our tip in conclusion

Always seek contact with other founders and entrepreneurs and become active in networks. Startup meetups are particularly suitable for this purpose, and they are also offered in various locations in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Exchanging ideas and experiences, building new relationships, or seeking support here – these are certainly things that will advance and strengthen you as a founder!

Extra tip

You can find many useful pieces of information about starting your own business on the offerings of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), for example:
- BMWi Start-Up Portal
- Checklist "Preparing for the Bank Interview"
- BMWi "Founder Times"
- Founder Platform