Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 15th 2015 Contents Congratulations,
have reached the
threshold that sep-
arates the true
people who merely have good ideas.
The decision about whether to
cross it is now yours to make. The
question is: Do you have what it
takes to make it to the other side?
The feeling of being stuck is
actually a good sign, you are not
just a drone earning a paycheck.
In terms of your career, it s the
equivalent of having a bellyache:
Your unhappiness and lack of ful-
fillment and purpose are motivating
you to do something different.
Here are some simple steps that
should make the decision easier
for you. Let s call them the five
stages of entrepreneurial awaken-
1. Evaluate your idea
OK, you have an idea. Now
what? Good business ideas are a
dime a dozen, and they are not all
are worth pursuing.
Ask yourself: Have I done the
due diligence necessary to take my
idea to the next level? Does my
idea solve a problem? Meet a need?
Touch a nerve? Is it unique? Has
it been done before?
Write down your answers, then
critique them as thoroughly as you
can. The best ideas are those that
can withstand heavy critical analy-
sis. If you can t do this alone -
which is almost always the case;
then take your idea to someone
you trust and ask for their per-
Still standing? Good. Let s move
2. Plan for the future
Let s assume that you have come
up with an amazing new product
or service that meets all the criteria
outlined above. Good for you. Now
it s time to plan.
Ask yourself: What do I need to
do to make this idea a reality? Have
I developed a business plan? What
are my capital needs? How far
away am I from having a working
prototype? Have I looked for
potential partners and investors?
What s my distribution strategy?
At this point, you may want to
look for a mentor if you don t have
one already; a seasoned business
veteran who can push you in the
right direction, point out potential
pitfalls and help you to navigate
around them. I still rely heavily on
others advice, though I ve been
an entrepreneur for nearly five
decades. After all, without the
advice I received from some great
JANUARY 2015 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
mentors, Virgin might still just be a
little record store somewhere in Lon-
3. Weigh the risks
You had an idea, and now you have
a plan. Great. Let s talk about you now.
Theodore, you said that you are feel-
ing stuck, but how stuck? Ask yourself:
Would I rather keep paying my bills or
am I ready to live on my savings for a
while? Is maintaining my current
lifestyle more important than having a
fresh start in life?
You see, entrepreneurship is all about
taking risks; potentially disruptive and
frightening life risks. If your family
depends on your income, it is your
responsibility to think things through
If your answer is still a resounding
and emphatic "Yes" after you have
weighed all the risks, then you are ready
4. Take the plunge
If you re still with me at this point,
the next stage should be a simple one:
Take the plunge. Cross the line. And
never once look back. You won t regret
5. Don't stop believing
The key to success is unwavering
commitment and focus. You will make
mistakes as you launch your product
or service; a tonne of them. But keep
your eye on the prize and never blink.
If you stop believing, your entire enter-
prise will be called into question.
In my case, when our team started
Virgin Atlantic with just one plane and
little knowledge of the airline business,
we stood alone against established play-
ers who were ready to bury us. No one
would have faulted us for throwing in
the towel and going back to the music
Yet we saw the enormous potential
in disrupting and reinventing airline
travel through superior service and
innovation. So we kept going, and we
are still going strong after three decades.
It s all about drive.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin
Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin
America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He main-
tains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog.
You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/richard-
branson. To learn more about the Virgin Group:
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5 stages of entrepreneurial awakening
Q. I feel stuck at my current job. It's not a bad position; I have opportunities to grow professional-
ly and I am paid very well. The problem is that I have my own idea for a business, which keeps me
up at night and gets me up in the morning. But each day I have to divert that energy into my job.
Should I leave my job and start my own business without any sort of certainty? People keep
telling me that I don't need to quit in order to pursue my entrepreneurial dream, but I know that
if I want the dream to become a reality, I should put everything I have into it. What advice do you
have for me, and for others like me who feel similarly stuck? Theodore Eccleston
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