Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2015 Contents Q. I own a small business in Israel in the
healthcare and nutrition industry. I
know that in order to grow, I need to
hire more people. In particular, I want to
hire a projects manager and someone
to be in charge of social media efforts.
The problem is that I can't afford to
bring in those sorts of managers right
now. But, of course, without more help
I can't grow. How can I hire people to
help me even when my business is not
making a lot of money?
Ayelet Rosenfeld, Israel
It s true that growing a business on
a small budget can be difficult, espe-
cially if you need to hire people to
help you expand and achieve your
objectives. But the size of your budg-
et shouldn t prevent you from giving
it your best go.
At Virgin, we ve usually come into many of
the industries where we operate as an under-
dog. This is because we enter various sectors
as a challenger brand: We re not only looking
to disrupt markets, we re also aiming to change
business for good.
Our status as a challenger has often meant
that we haven t had the budgets and resources
of bigger, more established businesses; but we
don t let this challenge stop us. At Virgin, we
firmly believe that the right people, not giant
budgets, can drive the success of a business.
So my advice for you, Ayelet---and for others
in your situation who want to grow a team
on a limited budget---is to stop looking to hire
people just because they have extraordinary
resumes or impressive academic records, and
look for people who share your passion. Aim
to bring on people who share your drive and
desire to make a difference, and you should
be able to attract talent on a budget.
The first step to attract the right people is
to refine your purpose.
Ask yourself: what is your product or service
trying to achieve? Why are you doing what
you are doing? How can your product or serv-
ice help to create a better world?
If you can express your purpose in an under-
standable, engaging way, people will be more
likely to react to it and identify with it. Also,
keep in mind that these days it s becoming
more and more common for people to value
purpose over monetary reward alone in the
At Virgin, we recently launched Virgin Sport,
and we approached Mary Wittenberg to fill
the role of chief executive. Before she joined
us, Mary was working for the long-established
New York Road Runners, an organisation
responsible for more than 50 events, including
the world-famous New York Marathon.
With the launch of Virgin Sport, we hope
to revolutionise events that draw large numbers
of participants, expand their reach and make
a difference in people s lives. So we approached
Mary, hoping that our story, purpose and goals
for Virgin Sport would attract her to join our
company; a new and, therefore, much less-
established and more challenging enterprise
than New York Road Runners.
To our delight, Mary jumped at the oppor-
tunity. She believed in our desire to challenge
the established worldview on health and fitness,
and together we are now hoping to hit the
ground running in order to help people of all
shapes and sizes push the boundaries of what s
expected of them, and help them strive for
But this wasn t the first time that Mary fol-
lowed her heart.
Prior to joining New York Road Runners,
she was a partner at a successful law firm.
But, just as she did with Virgin Sport, Mary
joined New York Road Runners because she
saw an opportunity to make a difference.
Fortunately, Mary s story is not uncommon.
Many people at the Virgin Group have made
career changes or have joined us from more
The good news for you, Ayelet, and also for
us at Virgin, is that more and more people
are seeking jobs that provide a purpose, not
just a big paycheck. Get your purpose right,
and you will attract the talent your company
needs to grow and succeed.
So start by offering an internship programme
that provides relevant work experience or part-
ner with friends and family. This should help
you staff your startup for now without breaking
the budget. And when you do bring people
on, remember to delegate; and delegate effec-
tively. Smart delegation is one of the most
important things any leader can learn to do
right from the very beginning.
And always keep in mind that it s OK not
to know how to do everything, and that you
should bring people on board whose strengths
play to your weaknesses. There s no shame in
admitting that you fall short in some areas.
Engaging with people who can help will drive
you closer to achieving your goals.
AUGUST 6 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG15
(Richard Branson is
the founder of the Vir-
gin Group and compa-
nies such as Virgin
Atlantic, Virgin America,
Virgin Mobile and Virgin
Active. He maintains a
branson/blog. You can
follow him on Twitter
branson. To learn more
about the Virgin Group:
(Questions from read-
ers will be answered in
future columns. Please
send them to Richard-
Please include your
name, country, e-mail
address and the name
of the Web site or pub-
lication where you read
Building a successful team starts a
strong definition of purpose. Here are
some questions to ask yourself about
• What is your product or service trying
to achieve? Remember, "profit" is never a
good answer on its own.
• Why are you doing what you are
doing? What motivates the idea for your
• How can your product or service help
to create a better world? The most suc-
cessful businesses these days are those
that make a difference in people's lives.
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