Richard Branson on Avoiding Start Up Mistakes

From making your pitch to knowing when to leave as C.E.O., Richard Branson looks at common mistakes entrepreneurs make and gives advice about how to avoid them.

What's the Latest Development?


Keep your pitch short and sweet, says serial entrepreneur Richard Branson. Start with Twitter and practice putting everything into just 140 characters, then expand it to 500 characters at most. Be realistic about the costs of starting a business—don't short change yourself or your vision. If someone picks up your idea, stay focused even if your business starts to draw attention. Taking decisive steps in the direction of your goal will prove smarter than sprinting in a thousand directions at once.

What's the Big Idea?

Branson knows a thing or two about starting businesses. For him, the most difficult point seems to be knowing when to hand over operations to a new company's management. Assuming you've hired a staff with experience in the industry, which means they understand the risks of opening a new company, you should trust them to make the right decisions. Avoid hiring family members and friends, says Branson. It may make the business run smoothly at first but if they don't work out, it will be difficult asking them to leave.

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