Richard Branson reveals the best way to increase your chances for success — and it’s all about your mindset


Reflecting on another fantastic VOOM, I got thinking about what really drives people to start brilliant businesses. It’s surprising – or maybe not – how regularly the reasons have a lot in common. It is often about being frustrated by something, and using that as inspiration to solve the challenge.

My fellow VOOM judges had some good examples. Innocent co-founder Richard Reed shared that his first job was working in a dog biscuit factory in Huddersfield, earning £2 per hour. He got in on his first day and learned that his role was to get on his hands and knees and pick up the dog biscuits that fell off the conveyor belt onto the floor.

He thought there must be a better way to earn a living than this, but was willing to give it a go. Being an enterprising young man, he realised he could be more efficient if he used a tool. He tracked down the foreman of the factory and asked him if he had a brush he could borrow. The foreman replied to him: “Son, you are the brush.” It was at that moment that Richard knew he wanted to be his own boss and would become an entrepreneur.

Fellow judge Sophie Morgan discussed how she was inspired to use the worst moment of her life – being in a car crash – to fuel her future. She encountered problems being in a wheelchair, but rather than being disheartened she set about creating businesses to solve the challenges. This is all about mindset – rather than seeing obstacles, she saw opportunities.

Finally, Virgin Media’s Going The Extra Mile director Sir Mo Farah had some advice about how sport has crucial lessons for entrepreneurs.

In both disciplines, you have to be honest with yourself and be ruthless in order to succeed. You will have setbacks and you will make mistakes. But if you don’t get frustrated by the mistakes, and instead use them to propel yourself forward, your performance will improve.

Whatever you are doing in life, running a race, starting a business – anything – use your frustrations as inspirations and you will have more chance of success and have a lot of fun along the way.