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6 December 2022

How to Startup: Which product or which service?


by German Design Museum Foundation

Innovative business ideas stand out through the fact that they bring a service or product to the market which did not previously exist in this form. A product or service of this nature will then have good prospects if sufficient demand exists in the market. In the best case, the innovation fills existing gaps in the market. Ground-breaking business ideas are often prompted by observing trends and (technical) developments, recognising them at an early stage and then implementing them.
Important: even if your idea thrills you, first put your ideas on the test bench!
Take a critical look at its acceptance in the market:
- Are you offering a benefit to customers?
- Can you offer your goods or service at an acceptable price in the market?
- And is the potential demand so large that your business can exist over the long term and has the opportunity to develop?

Possibilities for establishing a business

A start-up

A start-up is associated with the greatest risk but is also associated with the greatest scope for decision-making and the greatest opportunities. Very different factors must be considered and unfortunately there is hardly enough time for you to learn.  If you have no previous experience, the most important factors are: Learning by doing. You start at point zero but you must position, assert and establish yourself in the market. This period of time will be characterised by an extremely stressed financial situation as adequate returns are normally absent in the initial phase.

Taking an active stake and business succession

It is not always necessary to develop a completely new business if you want to establish a free-standing business for yourself. You can make yourself independent by acquiring an existing business or taking an active stake in a business.

Business succession is also often seen as a “start-up light” as it presupposes the acquisition of a business that is already well introduced into the market and has a motivated and experienced staff. However, experience shows that a business succession is often even more difficult that a start-up. This can certainly happen. The causes are often to be found – particularly in the case of smaller businesses – mainly in the mark that the previous owner has left on the business. If he leaves the business, it also often happens that the clientèle abandons the company and existing contacts can no longer be used. Staff, too, can leave the company, thus depriving the company of know-how and further contacts.


The franchising sales system is often seen as establishing a business without taking the feared leap in the dark. Strictly speaking this is also taking over a business but with the difference that in this case it is not the company along with its assets and staff that is being acquired but only the idea or concept of the franchisor that is being sold with the licence. Franchising means a voluntary close business cooperation in the sale of goods or services. The franchiser and the franchisee define the legal and economic cooperation in a contract. In this process both parties remain independent. The franchisee uses the overall know-how of the franchiser and benefits from the awareness level of a well-known brand He also acquires the benefits of a successfully operated business idea and the professional services of a large head office. In this way and in line with the basic idea of franchising, the advantages of a major company are combined with the advantages of a business operated by its owner. (1)

Potential creative sectors for the start-up

Design sector

Working in the design sector, and particularly a start-up or management of a business in this sector, presupposes very varied knowledge of many different areas of business.

The usual steps must be taken during the preparatory stages of establishing a business in the design sector. Thus, for example, a business plan should be prepared containing information on the legal form, product, service, sector, marketing, sales, management, staff and financing. This concept is the guideline for the time before, during and after the formation of the business and is also necessary for applications for grants, for instance. (4)








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