Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 6th 2017 Contents JULY 6 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
Settling on one idea
The core skills required to be a
successful entrepreneur are
passion, determination and
an ability to learn on the job.
These skills are not dependent
on age, education or position,
which is why anyone can become an entre-
You mention that you're a mum --- con-
gratulations! This is fantastic, since being a
mother is an attribute that you can use to your
advantage in business.
In the modern world, people are more in-
terested than ever before in the stories behind
the products they buy. Given a choice, cus-
tomers would rather know the backgrounds
of the companies they put their trust in than
just buy products from faceless conglomerates.
So when it comes time to market your busi-
ness, present yourself as what you are: a hard-
working mum who's in business because she's
passionate about the product or service that
Virgin has always been a challenger brand,
and in the past we never had the budget to
compete with the big organisations when we
entered a new industry. For this reason, I usu-
ally put myself at the heart of any marketing
campaign; whether that was flying across the
Atlantic in a hot air balloon to promote Vir-
gin Atlantic or rappelling from the top of the
Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to celebrate
the launch of a new route for Virgin America.
Customers responded positively because
they saw that the people behind Virgin were
just that---normal people. They felt they could
trust us, and we had to live up to that trust,
which we continue to strive to do every day.
Customers also want to make sure an organ-
isation connects with their ideals. Consum-
ers are far more socially conscious than many
brands give them credit for. So make sure you
put your company's purpose front and centre.
Make your mission about more than making
money, and let your customers know how and
why you're doing this.
You mentioned you have several business
ideas, but for you to be truly successful, you
need to choose the idea that you're most pas-
sionate about. Running your own business isn't
a 9-to-5 job---it's a way of life.
Make sure that you're focused on something
you would enjoy spending a large amount of
time on. It's no coincidence that I launched
Virgin Records during my 20s when I was into
music more than ever, or that when I got older
and more passionate about staying healthy we
launched Virgin Active.
One way to determine which idea is the best
to pursue is to think of a dog chasing a tennis
ball. In my experience, all dogs love to chase
tennis balls (ours certainly do!). No matter
what a dog is up to, or what else is going on,
if you throw a tennis ball, that dog will go after
it. Think about what your tennis ball is. Of all
your business ideas, which one captures your
attention, no matter what you're doing? That's
the idea that you should pursue.
Once you decide what idea to focus on, the
next thing to do is to set about proving that
your idea can work before you decide to spend
a lot of money or time making it happen. One
a business plan. You can download a business
plan template for free through Virgin Start-
Up---our nonprofit for entrepreneurs.
Our plan focuses on market research and
starting small. So think about one thing you
can do to test if there's a market for your busi-
ness. Maybe a Facebook group or online survey
could be a good place to start?
With many ideas and your family there to
support you, you're in a good position to ex-
plore business opportunities. Now you just
need to chase that tennis ball, build trust
among your customers and make sure you
prove your idea can work before you jump in.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin
Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic,
Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active.
He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-
branson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter
at twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn more
about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered in
future columns. Please send them to Richard.
Branson@nytimes.com. Please include your
name, country, email address and the name of
the website or publication where you read the
I'm 44 years old, and one of your many frequent readers around the world. At my age, and as a mom and
a wife, what are the basic steps I should follow to start a successful business?
I have many ideas, but I'd like to start a business that fills my heart with passion and puts my skills to use.
--- Kathia G Arjona, Panama
Your Business Plan
--- For inspiration, more information and to
download your own business plan template,
go to virginstartup.org.
Links Archive July 5th 2017 July 7th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page