Start a company: With these 10 tips into self-employment

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If you want to start your own company, you need more than just an idea. It should be a sustainable concept. On the way to self-employment, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Entrepreneurial spirit and initiative are important. However, in order for your business start-up to be successful, the whole thing needs to be built on a solid foundation. Therefore, we give you 10 tips on how to implement your business idea…

Clarify your employment relationship

Before you start a company, you should clarify for yourself whether you want to become self-employed as a sidepreneur or not. The big advantage as a sidepreneur: You have a guaranteed income. No one is driving you, you can build up your business in peace.

The disadvantage: Because you have no pressure, you may not get off the ground. Setting up a business takes forever, and at the same time the double burden wears on your nerves. In addition, you have to inform your employer. Your self-employment must not be at the expense of your main job. You may also have to pay additional costs for health insurance. It is therefore advisable to find out about possible payments beforehand.

Establish a company: Requirements

You can’t start a company overnight. Many self-employed people go several months pregnant with an idea before implementing it. For solid planning, you should consider the following points:

Properties

Perhaps the most important prerequisites when you start a company are your personal characteristics. As a self-employed person, you will have to do a lot of things yourself, especially in the beginning. There can always be setbacks, so frustration tolerance and perseverance are essential. You want to get your product to the clientele, so you need some sales talent. If your business grows, you should have leadership skills.

Business idea

Doing what many do can be successful (see franchising). But if you don’t analyze exactly where the need is, you may find yourself in a saturated market. A successful business idea ideally tries to give the solution to an existing problem.

Business model

Next, you need to think about what your business model will be. How will your business operate, where will the money come from? What will you offer, who are your customers? Let’s say you have a certain product – fashion, for example – and now you’re thinking about how to get it to men and women. To do this, you need to determine the sales structure: Do you go to brick-and-mortar retail or do you want to limit yourself to Internet retail? You can also look for specific niches, such as offering plus sizes, organic or regionally produced fashion. This is how you stand out from the competition.

Business plan

The business plan is an elementary part of setting up a company. With it, you convince potential financiers and give yourself a framework of how to proceed. It contains a summary of your idea, a competitive analysis, who is involved (if you are not founding alone) and of course very important: a financial plan. This is a summary of everything you need and what you intend to earn and when.

Advice

Numerous platforms, as well as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and the Chamber of Crafts (HWK) offer their services as start-up advice. And you should definitely take advantage of this advice: Here you will already receive important legal and organizational information. But the state itself also provides support, for example through the AVGS. This is the so-called activation and placement voucher from the employment agency or the job center. This is because you can also start a company from unemployment and still receive state support.

Location question

If you are setting up a second business alongside your job, you will probably start small in the back room. It is possible to start a company in a home office if, for example, you do not need storage space. 

However, you should then muster enough self-discipline to spend every day specifically on your work. If you prefer to go one size bigger, you will have to rent an appropriate store. This means you need to think about the location: What rents are affordable, what are the transport links, is it attractive to customers as well as potential employees and managers?

Naming

Even if you want to start your own company: You can’t just take any name for it. The legal requirements for a company depend on the form of the company:

  • GbR: contains at least the names of two partners in the company name
  • OHG: requires the last name of one partner in the company name
  • Freelancers: include their last name in the company name
  • Small traders: the company name must contain both first and last names in the company name.

In addition, the company or legal form must be part of the company name for the following companies: Aktiengesellschaft (AG), Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH), Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts (GbR), offene Handelsgesellschaft (OHG) and Unternehmergesellschaft (UG).

Legal form

The respective legal form does not only play a role in the names when you establish a company. Minimum capital and liability are other important points. In order to know which company you want to found, you should deal with the differences of the individual company forms. Here you should consider tax, legal and organizational differences.

Popular forms are these: As a sole proprietor, GmbH, GbR and UG. As a freelancer in the creative industry, for example, you are a classic sole proprietor. If you want to start a company with friends, the legal form of a GbR is recommended. This is comparatively uncomplicated, as you do not need a minimum investment or notarization.

Financing

If you want to found a company, you have to take various costs into account. Some of them are already incurred when the company is founded. For example, the notary fees for registration in the commercial register for a limited liability company (GmbH). Depending on the type of company, you may also need to have a minimum amount of capital. In addition, there are costs for registering a business. These can vary from city to city, as each municipality sets its own prices. Further costs are various acquisition costs such as business liability, company legal protection and business contents insurance.

Registration

Depending on the type of business, you will have to deal with various official procedures. As a trader and freelancer, you must go to the tax office. There you apply for a tax number. The trade office for business registration is only crucial for tradesmen. If you plan to establish a corporation, you must also go to the notary and the district court. If you are unsure which offices you are eligible for: You can find out such details at the start-up consultation.

3 classic ways to start a company

The leap into self-employment can be realized in different ways. There are three typical ways:

Self-founding

Self-founding is the dream of many employees who want something of their own. You may have tremendous expertise in a field and be ready to take on the responsibility of running a business. And you want to decide for yourself where to go, what decisions to make next. Since you not only have great self-confidence, but also diverse ideas, this path is suitable for you. But as indicated, you don’t have to start from scratch if you want to start a company. There are also the following options:

Company succession

Another possibility is to buy an already existing company: Perhaps the previous owner wants to retire or otherwise change. The advantage here is that you also have a company that is established in the market with a fixed customer base. The disadvantage could be if the customers are used to a certain treatment or approach and you now do things differently. A great deal of tact is therefore needed for the transition phase. Company succession is not directly a start-up, but you can still give a company completely new and individual impulses.

Franchising

If you consider franchising, you build on an existing concept. You don’t need any original business ideas and you don’t have to worry about marketing. And here you are spoilt for choice: there are almost 1,000 franchise systems in Germany. Of course, it’s best to choose one that matches your qualifications and wishes. With this model, you benefit from a strong brand and have a manageable risk. Disadvantage: At the same time, you remain contractually bound to the franchisor for the duration of your business.

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