It is no secret that entrepreneurs excite me and lots of other people. Why? What is it that makes their lifestyle so interesting? Why is it that books written by them ("Direct from Dell" - Michael Dell, "Losing my virginity" - Richard Branson) or dedicated to them are bestsellers?
I have always believed that there is an entrepreneur hidden in all of us; we just need to look that little bit further. The following speech by Richard Branson (at the 4th Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture) proves my point; the situation he found himself in could have been that of ANYONE of us, in fact, there were a number of people who were in the same situation. Only, he decided to look for a solution.
"In '79, when Joan, my fiancee and I were on a holiday in the British Virgin Islands, we were trying to catch a flight to Puerto Rico; but the local Puerto Rican scheduled flight was cancelled. The airport terminal was full of stranded passengers. I made a few calls to charter companies and agreed to charter a plane for $2000 to Puerto Rico. Cheekily leaving out Joan's and my name, I divided the price by the remaining number of passengers, borrowed a blackboard and wrote: VIRGIN AIRWAYS: $39 for a single flight to Puerto Rico. I walked around the airport terminal and soon filled every seat on the charter plane. As we landed at Puerto Rico, a passenger turned to me and said: "Virgin Airways isn't too bad - smarten up the services a little and you could be in business."
That, my friends, is how VIRGIN ATLANTIC began!! Can you believe it? A mad hatter's flight was cancelled, and look what he came up with.
He goes on to add: "When VA was launched in '84, not one person thought it would survive for more than a year. The bosses of these 13 big American airlines, that we competed with, said we'd fail. Now 21 years later, all 13 of them are out of business - proving the number 13 is unlucky for some."
Whew. What a guy!!