The Smart Founder
A Comprehensive Guide to
Starting Your Own Business
4 EBOOK # 1
About the author
I am a former professional soccer player and founder of the consulting and
investment company LIGA INVEST KG.
I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player at the age of six, and at
that time I could picture myself walking into a stadium. One day, the time
had come - my first appearance in the 1st Bundesliga in Germany.
A series of injuries, including a gross medical error, set me back again and
again during my career. But "biographical curvatures" have also made life
difficult. Today I look back on an instructive time and a dream that was
fulfilled. According to the motto "Everything you can imagine, you can
achieve“, I was allowed to find my way in the labyrinth of life and despite
some trapdoors and stumbling blocks, I learned how to get to my goals. As
an entrepreneur and with a passion for education, I empower people to
overcome the challenges of professional and personal life.
There are lighthouse principles that determine the growth and happiness
of a person as well as organizations. How well people recognize them and
live in harmony with them determines the direction: survival and stability
or disintegration and destruction. Sometimes you win - sometimes you
learn. This also applies to founders and entrepreneurs.
Dennis Ibrahim Wolf
CEO/FOUNDER LIGA INVEST KG
Table of Contents
05. CHAPTER 1 Generating Ideas for Your Business
07. CHAPTER 2 Research & Validation
08. CHAPTER 3 Business Structuring
10. CHAPTER 4 Financing Your Business
12. CHAPTER 5 Marketing & Branding
14. CHAPTER 6 Operations and Management
16. CHAPTER 7 Customer Relationship Management
17. CHAPTER 8 Business Growth & Scalibilty
19. PARTING WORDS
3 EBOOK # 1
Over 75% of newly-formed businesses close within
the first five years. Many founders took a chance and
started a business without real guidance.
Unfortunately, this often leads to failure – in fact, over
75% of newly-formed businesses close within the first
The striking question is this: why?
This book will explore why startups and businesses fail
and provide a comprehensive guide to starting your
own business. We’ll take a look at the 9 foundational
areas of starting a business, including researching and
evaluating potential ideas, setting up a business plan,
understanding the legal aspects of owning a business,
marketing strategies, financial planning, and resources
for funding your venture.
By the end of this book, you’ll have all the basics
needed to pursue your dreams and launch your own
successful business confidently.
So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive in!
It always begins with that one idea. That
spark, that lightbulb moment – this is the
basis of any successful business endeavor. If
you want to start your own business, the most
important step is coming up with a compelling
concept that solves a problem for people and
But how do you come up with such an idea?
Well, coming up with a business concept isn’t
as hard as you might think. To start, look
around and identify a problem your potential
customers are facing. Consider what existing
businesses out there are not doing well or
opportunities that are not currently being met
in the market.
Once you have identified a need, come up
with an idea to fill it – while also ensuring the
market is big enough for you to make a profit.
Brainstorm and research ways to improve
existing solutions or create something new.
Let's say you think there's an existing pain
point that's not being addressed in your
industry. Maybe you can come up with an
innovative solution to remedy it.
For example, suppose you are passionate
about fashion and have identified a gap in the
market for affordable yet stylish clothing. In
that case, your business concept could be to
design and manufacture affordable yet
fashionable apparel for sale online or through
Once you have a general idea of your
business, it’s time to dive deeper and develop
the concept further.
Research & Validation
No matter how revolutionary your business concept is, it doesn’t mean much if
nobody needs it. Before you dive into creating and launching your business, you
must ensure a real demand for your product or service.
To do this, start by researching the market you plan to enter. What goods or
services are people buying? Find out who your potential customers are, what
their pain points are, and what solutions they’re looking for. Look into the
competitors in your industry and analyze how successful they are.
Once you understand the market, it’s time to validate your business concept. This
involves testing your ideas to ensure they are viable and potential customers
would be interested in them. There are multiple ways to validate your business
concepts, such as surveys and interviews with target customers or A/B testing
Talk to potential customers directly to gain a deep understanding of customer
needs. Ask them about their pain points and what they expect from the products
or services you plan to offer. With a deeper understanding of customer needs, it’s
time to start brainstorming potential solutions.
Jot down any and all ideas that come to mind, no matter how crazy they seem.
Don’t limit yourself to preconceived notions of your solution – let your creative
An old saying of the great King Solomon, known for his wisdom, success and
wealth, says: "By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.“
So , it’s also essential to choose the right legal structure for your business.
When deciding which type of business entity makes the most sense for you,
consider a few key factors:
● the amount of personal liability you're willing to accept if something goes
● the number of owners involved in the business;
● and your future plans for growth, such as whether you intend to go public or
seek venture capital funding.
The most common types of business structures are sole proprietorships,
corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and partnerships. Depending on
which structure you choose, it can significantly impact how you manage and run
your business, as well as its tax implications.
For example, sole proprietorships are the easiest to set up and cost little in terms
of fees but offer limited protection for the business owner if something goes
wrong. Corporations carry more administrative costs but provide shareholders
with limited liability protection from debts and liabilities. LLCs offer the
advantages of both sole proprietorships and corporations, but restrictions on
ownership may make it difficult to raise capital or acquire funding from venture
Before deciding which legal structure is right for you, consult with a qualified
accountant or attorney who can advise you on the best option for your situation.
Once you have chosen the appropriate legal structure for your business, you will
need to obtain any necessary licenses and permits required by your state or
municipality. This can vary greatly depending on the type of business you are
running, so it's important to do the research and make sure you comply with all
applicable regulations and laws.
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is
established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all
precious and pleasant riches." (OT) Proverbs 24,3
Financing Your Business
The fourth fundamental of getting your wheels rolling is financing. While it might
seem counterintuitive to put money into your business before it even launches,
investing in the right services and resources will help you set yourself up for
success in the long run.
The first step in financing your business is developing a budget. This involves
estimating how much money you need to start and maintain your business and
how much you are willing or able to spend.
When creating your budget, one of the best methods to use is the top-down
approach, which involves starting with a high-level view of your overall business
and budget goals before breaking them down into individual components. For
example, you may start by creating an overview of projected monthly costs such
as rent, payroll, marketing expenses, etc., as well as one-time investments such as
equipment or software.
Once you have a budget in place, the next step is to start exploring different
financing options. Depending on your financial situation and the type of business
you are running, there are a variety of ways to access funding.
For example, if you are starting a small business but don’t have enough savings to
cover all costs, consider applying for a loan or seeking out investors. Alternatively,
various government grants available to small businesses can help you get started.
Financing Your Business
No matter which option you choose, make sure to read the fine print and
understand exactly what you're getting into before signing any agreements.
Bootstrapped takes time, but it’s a great way to get started. You can begin with a
small amount of capital and use it to generate more income and expand your
business. Conventional financing speeds up the process but also comes with more
responsibilities and commitments such as monthly payments or interest
M arketing & Branding
The biggest companies today sell a brand's vision before selling their product or
service. Think of Apple or Nike - their messaging and visuals are brilliant, and it is
no coincidence that these companies have made it to the top. Their branding is
synonymous with the vision they sell, and it has become an integral part of their
Apple doesn't sell hardware; it sells technological superiority. Nike doesn't sell
sportswear; it sells performance and lifestyle. As entrepreneurs, you too can
adopt this approach when building your business and developing your brand
So, when coming up with a branding and marketing plan, define what your
business stands for. Figure out the mission and vision behind your enterprise and
create a tagline that conveys it succinctly. Once you have that in place, start
considering how you want to be perceived by both your current and potential
customers. If you want people to associate your company with innovation, you'll
need to create visuals and messaging that reflects it.
Once your branding is sorted, you can develop a strategic marketing plan. Longterm
success is only possible if there's an effective strategy in place. Your
marketing plan should include tactics such as using digital platforms, creating
content, leveraging influencers, and more. You don't have to be everywhere but
aim to reach your target audience with a consistent message.
Finally, don't forget that marketing is not just about promotion and sales - it's also
about building relationships and trust. These days, the customer acquisition cost
is high. You need to build loyalty and ensure that your customers have an amazing
experience interacting with your brand.
With the right marketing plan in place, you'll be able to create visibility and
awareness around your business, build a strong customer base, and grow your
company rapidly. So don't underestimate the power of branding and marketing -
it can be the difference between success and failure.
Operations & Management
Yes, even before the first customer shows up, you must have the right processes
in place for a well-oiled business. It's important to set up systems and procedures
that will ensure the smooth running of day-to-day operations.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, explains that systems are the backbone
of success. His famous quote is: "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall
to the level of your systems." In other words, setting up strong processes and
procedures is the key to achieving success.
When designing these operations, it's essential to consider both current and
Start by breaking down each task into individual steps and then decide who the
right person is to complete each step. Communicate and delegate tasks to ensure
everyone is on the same page and clearly understands what needs to be done.
Also, establish systems for tracking progress. This could mean creating templates,
checklists, or customized software - whatever works best for you and your team.
Uniformity will help maintain the structure of your business and make it easier to
identify areas for improvement.
Team building is also essential for a well-run business. Determine what types of
people you need to reach your goals and have an open dialogue with them on
how they can contribute to the growth of the company. Divergent views help
drive innovation, so foster an environment of collaboration and openmindedness.
The right processes will ensure your business runs like a well-oiled machine. This
sets successful companies apart from those that fail – once basic operations run
smoothly, you can start focusing your energy on innovating and scaling up.
Imagine your business as a relationship. When it comes to customer relations, you
need to establish trust and ensure that your customers feel valued.
Start by listening closely to your customers' needs and responding promptly to
their requests or inquiries. It's also important to find out what they think about
your product or service - this is invaluable feedback that can help you make
improvements or adjustments.
Now, even before starting this conversation, you need to have a system in place
for managing customer relationships. This could include setting up email
templates, assigning dedicated customer service reps to handle issues, or having
systems that track and monitor customer interactions.
Always remember that customer relationship management aims to create loyalty
and strengthen relationships. To do this, you must provide customers with a great
experience – make them feel appreciated, valued, and heard. Also, be sure to ask
for feedback on your products or services so you can make improvements when
Amazon is an excellent example of a business that puts customer relationship
management at its heart. The company provides customers with an easy
shopping experience and offers personalized recommendations, free shipping on
specific orders, and 24/7 customer service. No wonder they have one of the most
loyal customer bases in the world!
Business Growth & Scalability
The second last piece of the puzzle is business growth & scalability. To continue
growing and expanding your business, you need to identify all the bottlenecks
and optimize your processes.
Start by looking at the systems and procedures you already have in place and
assess their effectiveness. Are they helping or hindering your growth? If they are
hindering, it's time to streamline them for greater efficiency. In the beginning,
there will always be a few bumps in the road but it's important to stay focused
and keep making improvements.
Once your business operations run smoothly, you can start thinking about
scalability. This involves identifying areas of your business where automation or
technology could help streamline processes or eliminate manual work. You need
to find the right balance between human and machine - technology should
support, not replace, the human element.
Also, consider the impact of scalability on your team. If you are expanding rapidly
and hiring more employees, it's crucial to ensure they have the right resources
and support to do their job correctly.
Legal M atters & Compliance
Although we've already covered this a bit, it's worth mentioning that the legal
elements of business should never be neglected. It's essential to understand your
company’s legal obligations and ensure they are being met at all times.
Start by researching the laws applicable in your jurisdiction, as these can vary
depending on your business type. For example, if you sell products, there may be
regulations that you must follow regarding labeling, safety standards, and more. If
your business is digital, look into data protection laws such as GDPR.
Other legal matters include protecting intellectual property (IP) and safeguarding
your business from potential liabilities or disputes. IP refers to any original work
you or your team created and includes ideas, inventions, designs, brands, logos,
and more. To protect your IP from being copied without permission, register it
with a patent office or use other legal tools such as copyrights or trademarks.
You should also create contract clauses that protect you from liability if
something goes wrong. This helps ensure that everyone involved in the
transaction understands expectations, roles, and responsibilities.
Finally, ensure you comply with all legal requirements such as taxes. This can get
tricky if your business crosses state or country lines so it's best to consult with a
qualified accountant or lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action.
Are you ready to take the plunge and follow your entrepreneurial dreams?
Starting a business can be both daunting and rewarding, but with the right
knowledge and tools, anything is possible.
In this book we've explored the many steps necessary for starting a successful
venture, from researching potential ideas to setting up a business plan and
marketing strategies. We've also discussed financial planning options as well as
resources for funding your venture. By now you should have all the information
needed to confidently launch your own business! So, what are you waiting for?
Start your Business
GOOD RESEARCH CREATIVITY TROUBLESHOOTING
K # 1
As a founder, you have the power to create something new that has the
potential to make a real impact. So, take this knowledge and go out and
change the world!
If you have the entrepreneurial spirit but are finding it hard to get
started, then why not reach out to us? We offer dedicated business
coaching and consulting services to help you brainstorm ideas, create a
plan of action, develop a successful marketing strategy, secure funding,
and more. For more information, visit our website today!
Get in touch