Minimize the downsides of risk
Richard Branson has commented that ‘minimizing the downsides of risk’ is one of the most important phrases in his life. When making bold moves, such as taking on an ailing venture you know nothing about, you need to ensure that there is a way out if something goes wrong.
This attitude was illustrated in Branson’s approach to transitioning from the music business to setting up an airline. When launching Virgin Atlantic, Branson leased a plane from Boeing that could be returned after twelve months if the business wasn’t successful enough. Critically, this meant that if the venture failed, it would not bring down the rest of his business. Branson was quite clear that he did not want people in his music company to lose their jobs from a failed branch-out initiative.
This approach to business reflects the ethos of this whole book, which was summarized in the introduction. Being an entrepreneur may appear risky to others; however, successful entrepreneurs manage that risk and protect the downsides of it.