How to Create a Robust Financial Plan for Startups in Switzerland

In Switzerland’s rapidly evolving market, a well-crafted financial plan is essential for successful startups, serving as a cornerstone of their broader business strategy. In this comprehensive guide, we highlight the importance of financial planning in securing funding, directing strategy, managing risks, and monitoring performance. Moreover, we provide a complete roadmap for developing a solid financial blueprint, which is essential for navigating the competitive Swiss landscape and ensuring your startup’s sustainable growth and success.

You are welcome to use our Finance Plan Excel Template.



  • Swiss market requires a well-developed financial plan for start-ups
  • The financial plan describes the financial position, forecasts income, expenditure and cash flow
  • Investors need the plan to assess the profitability potential
  • Includes steps for sales forecasting, cost planning and liquidity management
  • Goal of financial plan: Ensuring sustainable growth and success of the start-up


  • How to Create a Robust Financial Plan for Startups in Switzerland
  • Highlights & content
  • Overview: what is a financial plan?
  • Why do you need a financial plan for your startup?
  • Structure: 5 steps to create a complete financial plan
  • What period should the financial plan cover?
  • Top tips to create a successful financial plan
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Create the perfect financial plan with Nexova

Overview: what is a financial plan?

A startup’s financial plan is a key component of its broader business plan. While it usually forms one part of the business plan, the financial plan can also exist as a standalone document that outlines the economic viability of a new business. It details the current financial state of the startup and forecasts future revenue, expenses, and cash flow over a specified period (the “plan period”).

This plan serves as a roadmap for the startup, guiding its financial decisions and strategies to ensure sustainability and growth. It is also a key indicator to prospective investors of the profitability potential of a new business venture. It includes various components such as sales forecasts, cost estimates, profitability projections, and liquidity planning. Essentially, a financial plan translates the company’s goals and strategies into tangible financial metrics and expectations.

Easily calculate the costs of setting up your company here.


Why do you need a financial plan for your startup?

A financial plan is indispensable for a startup for a few key reasons:

  1. Funding: first and foremost, a financial plan is critical for gaining access to external sources of capital funding. Investors and lenders demand a thorough financial plan to assess the potential return on their investment, meaning it would be almost impossible to acquire financing without one.
  2. Provides direction: By quantifying your business model, a financial plan helps you understand the feasibility of your startup and provides set goals and expectations. This creates greater clarity and enables more informed decision-making during the startup phase.
  3. Risk management: A financial plan can help you identify potential financial pitfalls ahead of time, allowing you to formulate strategies to mitigate them.
  4. Performance tracking: A financial plan is a living document that helps you track your startup’s actual performance against its projected goals. This enables you to make optimum adjustments to your strategies as the business evolves.

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Structure: 5 steps to create a complete financial plan

There is no fixed mandatory structure for a financial plan, and each plan can be tailored to a startup’s specific needs and preferences. That said, comprehensive financial plans should generally include at least the following main sections:

  1. Sales planning
  2. Cost planning
  3. Capital requirements and financing
  4. Profitability
  5. Liquidity

Let’s break each of these 5 stages down in turn:

1. Sales planning

Sales planning involves forecasting the revenue your startup expects to generate from its products or services. Doing so requires a deep understanding of your target market, pricing strategy, and sales channels. Most of these elements should already be included in your business plan. Start by identifying your market segments and estimating the size and value of each. Then, project your sales volume and pricing over time, considering market growth, competition, and economic factors.

When planning your sales revenue during the early years of your startup, it’s important to keep in mind that your product offering is new on the market and is likely to gain traction slowly at first. Be realistic about projecting your revenue, if it means planning for a net loss during the first months or years of operation.

2. Cost planning

Projecting your costs is equally important to planning your revenue from sales. To do so, you will have to list all startup and operational expenses necessary to run the business. These include:

  • Variable costs: also termed “sales-dependent” costs, variable costs are those which are incurred directly during production and operation of your business. In other words, variable costs fluctuate with the level of output. They increase as production expands and decrease as production contracts.

Examples include: raw materials and inventory costs, direct labor (if labor is paid on a per-unit basis), shipping and delivery expenses, sales commissions, etc.

  • Fixed operating costs: Fixed operating costs, also called “overheads” or “indirect costs” are those costs which are not directly associated with the level of production or sales output but are necessary for the business’ overall operations. They remain relatively constant irrespective of the company’s production.

Examples include: rent, wages and salaries, insurance, marketing costs, office supplies, professional fees (e.g., lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc.), and utilities (water, electricity, internet) that are not directly tied to production volume.

  • Long-term investments in equipment and other operating assets: This third expense category is not a true “expense” in that it encompasses the purchase or acquisition of long-term assets that are expected to provide value and contribute to the company’s operations over several years. Unlike expenses that are incurred through the day-to-day operations of the business (e.g., rent, utilities, raw materials), investments in equipment and other operating assets are capitalized, meaning their cost is depreciated or amortized over their useful lives, rather than being expensed fully in the period they are purchased.

Examples include: machinery and equipment, buildings and real-estate, technology and software, furniture, improvements and renovations.

The significance of these “investment costs” varies greatly depending on the industry and specific model. For example, a freelancer working from their laptop requires little investment in equipment, whereas opening a production plant necessitates extensive investment in equipment, production facilities, etc. 

Deducting variable costs per unit from the selling price allows you to calculate the contribution margin of a product, which is the portion of sales revenue remaining to cover fixed costs after deducting variable costs. With this, you can determine the break-even point, which gives you an estimate of the sales volume required to start turning a net profit.

Accurate cost planning is a critical component of the financial plan, as it helps to avoid financial shortfalls. It is also vital to consider the timing of these costs to ensure adequate cashflow to meet short-term obligations and operating expenses.

3. Capital requirements and financing plan

Once you have a clearer idea of your sales revenue and costs in the early stages of your startup, you will more easily be able to determine the amount of capital you require before the company becomes profitable enough to sustain itself.

In other words, what will the total cost of starting and maintaining your business amount to before break-even is reached? This figure gives you an approximate idea of the total initial capital required to start your business. It is always advised to add a buffer to ensure you have adequate capital and liquidity if your projections don’t go exactly as planned.

Once you understand your capital requirements, outline a financing plan explaining where you intend to acquire the capital. You should distinguish between the amount of equity you plan to bring to the table yourself and capital from third parties. This may include equity financing (investors), debt financing (lending institutions such as banks), grants, or a combination of sources.

4. Profitability projections

Profitability projections show when and how your startup will become profitable. This involves subtracting projected expenses from revenue to forecast net profit. The profitability projections contain the summarized figures of previous sections of your financial plan on an annual basis and enables the reader to obtain a broad overview of your entire financial plan and quickly determine how profitable your business is likely to be. It’s important to be realistic and consider best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenarios.

The profitability projections include various profit calculations such as the contribution margin, gross margins, Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) and/or Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA). These projections help assess the long-term viability of your startup and are crucial for attracting investors.

5. Liquidity planning and management

It’s one thing for your business to be profitable on paper, but that doesn’t help if you don’t have sufficient cashflow to meet your day-to-day expenses and short-term obligations. Liquidity planning is the art of ensuring your startup has enough cash on hand to meet its obligations at all times. This involves forecasting cash inflows and outflows over time and identifying potential cash shortfalls. Effective liquidity management may require establishing lines of credit, optimizing inventory and receivables, or adjusting payment terms with suppliers and customers. It is often the most complex part of your financial plan and the most difficult aspect to manage effectively.

Easily calculate the costs of setting up your company here.


What period should the financial plan cover?

The ideal timeframe for a financial plan is usually three to five years, depending on your purpose for creating the financial plan and your specific business model. The first year should be planned in detail on a monthly basis, given its critical nature for your startup’s survival.

The subsequent years can be planned on a quarterly or annual basis. This timeframe provides a long-term perspective while allowing for adaptability and revision as the startup grows and the market changes. Keep in mind that the further into the future you project your finances, the more uncertainty there is and therefore the projections become increasingly less accurate.

Easily calculate the costs of setting up your company here.


Top tips to create a successful financial plan

Creating a sound and usable financial plan is a delicate and time-consuming process. Thrown together plans without rigorous calculations and checks leave you with an inaccurate financial plan that can mislead investors and cause mistakes in your decision-making.

Here are some top tips to creating a solid financial plan, along with common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Be realistic: While it is tempting to present the most positive picture possible, overly optimistic forecasts can in fact lead to financial strain. This is because you are likely to underestimate the true capital requirements and find yourself in a position with insufficient liquidity to manage your cashflows. Discerning investors will also easily identify unrealistic financial plans and be less likely to invest in your business. Base your projections on solid data and reasonable assumptions to create a more realistic financial plan that accounts for worst-case scenarios.
  2. Plan for the unexpected: A simple way to prove to investors and lenders that your business will be able to make it through hardships is to include a buffer for unexpected expenses or lower-than-expected revenue to mitigate risks. This is especially important when it comes to estimating your capital requirements.
  3. Focus on cashflow: Profit is important, but positive cash flow is essential for survival. Prioritize liquidity planning in the early stages of your startup.
  4. Regularly review and update your plan: As your startup evolves, so should your financial plan. Adjust it based on actual performance and changing market conditions so that it reflects the most current information available.
  5. Ensure your plan is free of calculation errors: basic calculation errors in your financial plan are not only detrimental to your own internal planning processes, but they can also be a major turnoff to potential investors. Calculation errors indicate sloppiness and a lack of professionalism that investors see as essential when it comes to investing in a new business venture.
  6. Make a good impression: The financial plan is not only about the numbers but should also have an attractive layout and follow a clear and logical structure. The PDF version of your plan which you will likely share with investors should be pleasing to the eye and easy to read and follow.
  7. Seek professional advice: Consider consulting with trusted financial advisors or accountants like Nexova AG who can provide expertise and insights in creating a solid financial plan.

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Frequently asked questions

Is a financial plan mandatory for a startup?

While not legally mandatory, a financial plan is considered essential for the success and sustainability of a startup. This is because it helps you determine two essential aspects of starting a business; namely, how profitable it is likely to be and how much capital you require to get started. Without a well-thought-out financial plan, it is almost impossible to access external sources of finance such as loans and equity investments.

Is there a difference between a business plan and a financial plan?

Yes. A business plan outlines the overall strategy of the business, including marketing, operations, and management, while a financial plan focuses specifically on the financial aspects, including revenue, costs, and funding.

What tools can you use to create a financial plan?

Several tools can aid in financial planning, from basic spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel to specialized financial planning software designed for startups. These tools can help automate calculations, generate reports, and simulate different financial scenarios. We provide you with a free PDF financial plan template to help you get started in creating your own basic plan. Partner with Nexova today for access to our comprehensive financial planning software tools and our expert support and guidance in taking your startup to the next level.

You are welcome to use our Finance Plan Excel Template.


Create the perfect financial plan with Nexova

When it comes to financial planning for your business, Nexova stands as a premier online accounting provider dedicated to empowering startups on their journey toward financial security. We offer a wholistic blend of expert advice, personalized support, and a suite of free templates and software tools tailored specifically to the unique needs of your startup.

With Nexova, you gain access to a team of experienced financial professionals who understand the intricacies of startup financial planning. Our experts will guide you through the process of crafting a comprehensive financial plan that aligns with your strategic vision and growth objectives. Whether you’re drafting your initial financial projections, optimizing your cash flow management, or preparing for investor presentations, Nexova provides the resources and expertise to ensure your financial plan is both robust and realistic.

By leveraging our expertise and state-of-the-art accounting technology, you can easily traverse the complex financial landscape with confidence, ensuring you have a solid foundation to support sustainable growth and long-term success. Contact us today to find out more about our comprehensive service offerings for startups and SME’s in Switzerland and beyond.

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