The business plan
A business plan normally covers the following topics:
- Executive summary
The executive summary serves to awaken interest in reading further. In view of the wide variety of business plans that investors read, you should make the executive summary just as interesting and exciting as the summary for a bestseller.
- Technology, products/product ideas, patent situation
- This essential module describes the technology behind the company formation as well as product and service ideas resulting from this. Explain this is as concisely as possible and as detailed as necessary.
- The situation regarding the protection of technology under intellectual property rights is of major interest to potential investors. As a result, we always advise spin-offs together with our Patent and License Management, who will discuss the property rights strategy with you. Thus a purely expertise-based company formation can also be advisable in individual cases. Normally, investors require safeguarding by patents or patent applications in advance. Here it is important for you to point out any novelty destroying publications at an early stage.
- In most cases, protection of the technology with intellectual property rights will enhance its marketing options. Further validation work, such as supplementary experiments, are often necessary for successful patenting. We check whether funds can be applied for from the TT translational funding for this.
- A license must be available for the unrestricted use of any other necessary technology that you require to make your business concept reality. We therefore recommend that you endeavor to obtain a Freedom to Operate (FtO) analysis. In this way, any potential dependencies on other patents or patent applications can be recognized and license options investigated. As a commissioned FtO analysis may be associated with high costs, you should conduct your own research in advance so as to identify possible patent applications or patents that could be problematic for your spin-off.
- During the pre-seed phase, a project manager can be helpful to spur on the spin-off project in a targeted manner. He or she will undertake the content-relevant project management such as planning, implementation, monitoring and the conclusion of individually defined projects. The financial funds are requested from the General Administration of the MPG on the recommendation of Max Planck Innovation, and are made available after approval from the TT translational funding.
- The Expertise Meets Innovation program offers further opportunities for team formation.
- Market and competition analysis
- The markets and the competition are usually international in the field of high technology. To gain an initial market overview here, freely accessible reports in the Internet or also information from associations can typically be helpful. In individual cases, it can also be advisable to consult paid-access professional databases. We shall be pleased to help you here.
- The most important market player is the customer, who – put simply – has a problem and requires an effective, simple and cheap solution as possible. Therefore scrutinize your project or service critically from the viewpoint of your clientèle. Describe the extent to which you can offer the customer a solution option that is better than the competition. Attempt to talk directly to potential customers, and also feel free to do so together with Max Planck Innovation.
- Investigate the competition in detail. For this, it is often helpful to discuss very specific practical issues (e.g. production) with industrial experts. We can provide you with this opportunity thanks to our broad network and our Expertise Meets Innovation (EMI) funding measure as support.
- Marketing / sales / business development
- Business system & organization
- Realization timetable
- Financial planning & financing
- Essential elements of solid financial planning involve liquidity planning, personnel planning, planning for investments and amortizations as well as profit and loss accounting. Good financial planning provides good protection against unpleasant financial surprises. As a scientist, you will probably not be so familiar with terms like profit and loss accounts, amortizations and EBIT. We therefore advise you in regard to financial planning and support you with sample templates as well as example and reference material (orientation variables) for your cost calculation.
- Based on good financial planning and the financial requirements determined in this way, it will become apparent which investors you should contact with your spin-off company most effectively. Please read about detailed information on financing here.
- Summary including a brief opportunities/risks profile
In view of the many good business plan handbooks usually available free in the Internet, detailed explanations of the individual points can be skipped. Here you can find a selection of downloads for various business plan competitions: