Richard Branson on giving advice for starting a new business, pays attention to effective problem-solving all over the challenging effort. As the new economy challenges as to (business) move forward, Branson’s advice is invaluable encouraging:
Launching a business is essentially an adventure in problem-solving. This is why I rarely quote experts in this column, and why I strongly emphasize hiring the right people, rather than just looking for people with the right qualifications: because every problem is a little different, and applying generalized solutions — especially by rote — is not a good idea. A great problem solver is usually open to new ideas, innately curious and good at working with others. Above all, terrific listening skills are essential. When my friends and I started up the first Virgin businesses, we didn’t know anything about building a company. At our mail-order record venture, everyone received a wage of 20 pounds per week (I think we were all still in our teens). It was a truly flat organization, and as we worked, each of us discovered by trial and error what he was good at, what areas he should focus on, and how to work with the other members of our group. Back then, because there were no companies like the Virgin Group, my friends and I didn’t have an example to imitate — and even if there had been, we certainly had no idea of what the future held for our enterprises. But as our businesses grew and grew, I began to delegate responsibilities — there was simply no better way to get things done well — and this became the blueprint for the structure that has served the Virgin Group ever since. The CEOs and their teams lead the various Virgin businesses independently, while the management group and I focus on the company’s future. One of the reasons my friends and I were successful early on was because we always asked a lot of questions. I was willing to listen to anyone who could help, and over the years many people volunteered their advice. Two of the most influential were my mother, who taught me to see every day as an opportunity to achieve something new, and Sir Freddie Laker, the founder of Laker Airways, who advised me to put myself forward as the face of the Virgin brand. Jamie’s questions point to one of the fundamental challenges that entrepreneurs face during a business’s first years: When you’re trying to solve problems that come up, you need to find the right people to give you advice — and you may not even know who to ask.
More importantly, your decision to follow your goals, it is the corner-stone of your business effort by giving you strength to stick to your business plan:
If you want to be an entrepreneur, leaving school to pursue your own goals can be a smart move, but it can also be a difficult choice, especially when well-meaning family members and friends are urging you to finish your studies. However, many successful business leaders, including myself, have taken this path and never looked back. Whatever the type of enterprise you eventually launch, you can reassure your parents that you will be learning marketable skills as you go. After I left school at the age of 16 to start a business, my friends and I learned much more than we ever could have absorbed in a classroom. Since then Virgin has started so many businesses, often in areas in which we initially had little or no knowledge, that it feels as though my education has never ended. (I won’t be passing an exam in rocket science any time soon, but my recent work with Virgin Galactic employees has certainly increased my knowledge in that area.) Your family might ask you, why not continue with your studies? And what constitutes a good education for an entrepreneur? I’ve found that there is simply no match for life experience. The lessons a budding entrepreneur learns while making mistakes and finding ways to recover from them are invaluable to her development. If you want to launch your startup right away, be prepared to tell your family about your plans and strategies. Look into contacting local programs that offer seed money for small businesses. In Britain, the government’s Start-Up Loans program offers young entrepreneurs business loans on the same basis as student loans. (Virgin Money is helping to administer this program.) Or perhaps your university helps to connect students who want to become entrepreneurs with potential investors; in some cases, universities have even been known to invest in the start-ups that are being launched by their students.
Additionally, hard work (day and night), personal sacrifice and multiple risk-taking, are the basic characteristics of every business effort for new start-ups:
Richard Branson on Asking for Help | Entrepreneur.com
The career path of an entrepreneur is tough — it involves a lot of hard work, sacrifice and risk, and it can be very lonely. When you hit a rough spot or encounter a problem you don’t know how to solve, it can be difficult to figure out where to find information and who to ask for help, and you can get into trouble. This was the essence of a problem I ran into in 1969, when at the age of 19 I started a mail-order record business. I did not ask my family, friends or mentors for advice on how to carry out a business plan. I thought I knew it all — until I stupidly decided to take a shortcut and smuggle records through customs to avoid paying taxes. I was caught by British customs officials and spent a night in jail, not knowing what the outcome would be. (Luckily, customs agreed not to press charges as long as I paid back three times the tax that had not been paid.) We all make silly mistakes from time to time, but the bottom line is that entrepreneurs should seek input from the start. You will need advice on how to improve your business, beginning on the first day, and throughout the rest of your career.
Finally, it is clear that the call of the New Economy is here. Everyone has the basic option to take it or leave it => Richard Branson is here… for us!