1. Think about what drives you
When you’re considering which idea to turn into a business, think about the subjects and problems that interest you most. Is there an industry you love? A talent you have? A cause that you are 110 per cent behind? Don’t start a business just because you think it’ll turn a profit; if you’re not in love with the idea, you won’t move mountains to make it happen.
2. Start at your doorstep
Now that you have decided on the area you’d like to focus on, look around yourself. What is the market missing that it desperately needs? Which services do you and your friends use that are lackluster and could be hugely improved? Think about how your business could help your street, your neighbourhood and your city. From there, you might someday expand to bigger markets.
3. Shake things up
As you design your product or service, remember your resolve to serve the public; business is about improving other people’s lives. Hopefully, once you’ve done that, more money comes in than goes out.
From Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Money and Virgin Active, our team has always launched businesses out of a genuine desire to disrupt the status quo and improve things for customers.
4. Listen to advice, not to naysayers
When you’re just starting out, you should ask those with experience in your field for advice, especially your parents. But be careful not to confuse discouraging comments for good advice. Lots of people will tell you that your idea won’t work, or that it has been done before. When I started out, I lost count of the people who told me that I wouldn’t succeed.
5. Stay focused – and motivated
You need to dream big and have lofty goals – but in your first year, concentrate on establishing your business and surviving. Keep your eyes on the prize and on day-to-day operations, setting small targets for each day, then each week, each month, each quarter and each year. Write them down and then tick them off. You will be amazed at how much satisfaction you get from this.
6. Love what you do
Whatever you’re doing in business, it should be fun. That has always been a priority at Virgin, and it’s a vital component of our success. I love what we do, our employees love what we do, and so our customers love what we do, too.