Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 21st 2013 Contents the CEO of Virgin Blue, Virgin as one
of his investors, and myself as his co-
founder and mentor.
Though Blue only had a couple of
planes when it started operating in 2000,
Brett grew the airline (now known as
Virgin Australia) into a thriving business.
Brett and I are firm friends---we own
Makepeace Island on Australia s Sunshine
Coast together---and his entrepreneurial
career has gone from strength to strength.
Your mentors will also be the people
you will turn to for advice and assistance
when things don t go according to plan.
And you can be certain that things won t
go as planned, though that s half the fun.
Decision-making can be more difficult
when the wrong call can make the differ-
ence between your being able to pay your
bills (and your employees) or not. With a
strong support network of people who
have experience and know-how, you re
more likely to make better choices.
Before your business becomes your
sole source of income, you need to be
sure that you ve protected the downside.
You may need to secure financial help
from investors, or perhaps your business
requires that you take on partners who
have the clout to give it the best possible
start. Whatever type of business you are
hoping to launch, you should think about
the consequences if it is slow to take off
or even fails, and do what you can to
minimise that possibility. If you are able
to put together a contingency plan, that
will help you to proceed with confi-
While you plan and network and find
financing, remember that the window
of opportunity is closing - at some point,
you will simply have to go for it. Then
all that s left to do is give up your day
job and become your own boss.
Be brave: After all that planning, it s
now time to have confidence in your
idea and believe in yourself and your
team. Good luck!
(Richard Branson is the founder of
the Virgin Group and companies such
as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Vir-
gin 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/richardbranson.
To learn more about the Virgin Group:
(Questions from readers will be
answered in future columns. Please
include your name, country, e-mail
address and the name of the Web
site or publication where you read the
@2013 Richard Branson. (Distributed
by the New York Times Syndicate.)
NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG19
Q: I am very successful at my day
job, and I also run a small business.
With more time, effort and invest-
ment, I think my business could be
hugely successful, but this would
require that I quit my job. How do
you know when it s the right time
to take an entrepreneurial leap of
has some entre-
and with it, the
potential to run
their own busi-
nesses. But an entrepreneur s life
isn t for everyone. Many people
decide instead to put their talents
to work at somebody else s com-
pany, innovating as intrapreneurs.
For others, working for someone
else is never an option, and so they
start launching their own ventures
Nhuri is one of those people who
has to choose between intrapre-
neurship and entrepreneurship:
Without knowing more, I can point
out that it s clear you have great
confidence in your business, so
sooner or later you ll have to give
it a go full-time. If you don t, you ll
spend the rest of your life wonder-
ing what might have been.
It s true that entrepreneurs have
to take a leap of faith at some point.
While it may seem daunting, the
key is to make sure you ve got a
The first step in preparing for
the day you quit your job is to plan
out the launch of your business (or,
in Nhuri s case, its expansion),
thinking through everything from
the type of location you want for
your office to how you want your
product to look on store shelves.
You need to work out as many of
the bugs in your plan as you can
ahead of time; while keeping an eye
on the clock. If you take too long,
the circumstances might change,
altering markets so that you could
miss your opening.
To make sure the broad outlines
of your plan work well and to sort
through the details, you need to
connect with some strong mentors.
Having a sounding board for your
ideas will be invaluable, and will
help you make the transition from
part-time businessman to full-time
entrepreneur more smoothly.
Nhuri s situation reminds me of
the day that Brett Godfrey, a mem-
ber of the financial team at Virgin
Express, our European short-haul
operation, approached me with an
idea to launch a Virgin airline in
Brett outlined his plan, I offered
my thoughts, and together we
hashed out the details on the back
of a beer mat. Soon we were on
the way to creating the next Virgin
business, with Brett at the helm as
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Go ahead, give up your day job
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