With two truckloads of household items, her personal belonging and her four children, Elizabeth Francis stood on a pavement in Arima one night in January 2009 looking up at the sky. “God please...
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No experience? No problem
Virgin works in a variety of industries—you jumped from magazines to records to air travel, and from there to soft drinks, space flights and so on. Do you need to have prior knowledge of the industry you want to start a business in? How have you started up one business after another and succeeded again and again?
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be insatiably curious about almost everything, and often they are good at learning by doing. Their open-minded, can-do attitude is among their best assets. Hernan, if this describes you and you’re thinking about starting up a business, you’re already on your way!
Please don’t get hung up on this question of whether you need to have experience in an industry before you launch your startup. Instead, think about changes you’d like to see as a customer; even if you’ve just noticed little details that need tweaking. An amalgam of those changes may add up to a big idea that leads to a new and truly disruptive product or service.
This is essentially how we at Virgin launched our first successful businesses. We were very sensible when we started out, setting up connected enterprises like most other companies do. We went from running a small record shop to starting up a record label with recording studios and then added our large music megastores to our portfolio.
Though we were music fans, we knew little or nothing about any of those businesses, but we learned that this wasn’t necessarily a drawback. We were young and stubborn, and we liked to do things our own way; paradoxically, our enterprises thrived as a result.