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The Richard Branson Way to Turn Your Idea Into A Huge Business

The Richard Branson Way to Turn Your Idea Into A Huge Business

If you’ve been dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur for quite sometime, you probably have numerous ideas that can be turned into a business by now. However, you might be struggling on how to put one or two of these ideas into fruition. Because you have never tried starting a business, you are at a loss without knowledge of exactly where to begin.

This is where Richard Branson comes in. He can help you have a head start and tell you precisely the steps you have to take, from the beginning to the final steps. Then you’ll be running your own business, for real. He believes and, in fact, suggests that after you have graduated, you continue your education by taking online courses, looking for mentors who will share their business wisdom, and, most importantly, exposing yourself to real world experiences. (Most business schools don’t teach you how to deal with real world scenarios you’ll surely encounter in the business world.)

Start your own business, or join a group of entrepreneurs working on a startup — be a volunteer. This second way, you’ll be immersed in the world of the entrepreneur without spending a dime, and you’ll see the nitty-gritty involved in the real deal.

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Let’s focus on you starting a business on your own. Once you have thought out an idea for a business, you don’t do anything practical yet. What you have to go through is much simpler.

1. Incubate.

Go to your favorite place; somewhere you can relax and dream and incubate your idea. It could be anywhere: the main principle here is to go to a place where you can feel at home with minimal distractions and start envisioning the company you’ll build based from your idea. This company should be something that you can bet your time, heart, soul, and hard earned cash on.

Branson is very definite about one thing. You must be enthusiastic about how your company will make a difference in people’s lives. He continues to explain that this is a crucial factor you must figure out because if you truly love your work, you’ll have a bigger chance of succeeding. If you’re in love with your idea and the way it will help other people, you’ll persevere and weather the storms of turning an idea into a huge business. It’s very important that you can persist despite the long hours, the trials, and the tribulations you have to go through to put up a company.

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2.The mum test.

The next thing he suggests is something that is unexpected. Indulge in the mum test. This involves talking to your mum, describing your idea and the empire you will create out of it. If she’s not excited and doesn’t have anything positive to say about your venture, you have to start all over. Go back to your creative space and start thinking of other ideas you can pursue. On the contrary, if she is elated, even pumped up, upon hearing your idea, go ahead with your plans. You might be birthing a real winner!

Frankly, I was a bit hesitant to follow this suggestion. Here’s the reason: my mother is not business savvy like Branson’s mum. However, all mums have instincts on what is best for their children. Your mum will have your best interest at heart when you discuss your entrepreneurial dreams with her. This being said, it’s undoubtedly safe to go through this step.

3. Put your idea out there.

The next step involves risk. Many entrepreneurs stall on this stage. They spend more time perfecting their plan than actually operating their business. The reason is simple: they are afraid to take the risk of putting out their business idea, scared of committing time, effort, and resources into the project. To this, Richard Branson says, “Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for the perfect moment — they create it.”

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Develop some samples of the product or service you would like to sell. Upon reaching the point where you are happy with what you see, gather the least amount of funds to start the best and cheapest form of market research you can launch. You can do this with family members, relatives, your friends, neighbors, and your social media followers. Encourage them to try your product or service. In case you receive not-so-encouraging reactions, don’t fret. Consider tweaking the original idea to cater to the taste of your target market. Richard Branson encourages would-be entrepreneurs like you to not be discouraged at this stage. Making changes on your offering doesn’t mean your original idea isn’t good. This is just a natural occurrence in the process of improving your product or service. It’s just the initial adjustment, or a few of them, you need to make in your plan. Branson reminds all who want to dive into the sea of entrepreneurship — “Flexibility and the ability to solve problems creatively are great qualities in an entrepreneur.”

4. Time to sell.

After making those changes, it’s time to try selling your product (in small batches at first) or start offering primary introductions to your service wherever it’s possible —  door to door, online, at trade fairs, etc. Take feedback from early customers and keep in touch with them. At this point it’s critical to do your branding right.

According to Branson, ask these questions: “Does it stand out? Do your brand values attract eager customers? Will they also attract talented employees?

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5. Start talking to potential investors and distributors.

As you continue to encourage people to try your offerings, and they start to give you consistent positive feedback, you should begin thinking of producing more of your product or your service.

As you manufacture more of your products, practical issues will arise, issues like what’s the best way to manage cash flow or how to distribute your product efficiently. While this is happening, it could be a good idea to start scouting for potential investors and distributors to pitch them your idea. Also, at this phase, it would be wise to begin hiring and delegating responsibilities to employees.

To wrap up, Richard Branson puts it well. He says, “If you’ve followed the steps above, you may soon realize that I’ve pulled a tiny prank on you: You’ve now got a working startup, without ever having set a launch date. Great work!”

Source: Richard Branson on Turning an Idea Into a Business by Richard Branson via Entrepreneur.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: Fran Monks via Compfight cc via compfight.com

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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