My first business plan

Black and white photo of a young Richard Branson smiling
Image by Virgin.com
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 17 November 2014

I started my first business when I was 15. Here's how I wrote my first business plan for Student Magazine...

The headmaster suggested that I air my views in the school magazine, but Jonny Gems and I wanted to set up an alternative magazine with a fresh attitude. We wanted to campaign against corporal punishment, compulsory chapel, games and Latin.

All these ideas were far too ‘revolutionary’ to be aired in the school magazine, The Stoic, a name which seemed only too apt to its long-suffering readers. We then thought about linking up with other schools that had similar rules. Gradually the idea of an interschool magazine was hatched. 

A black and white photo of Richard Branson. Side profile view, he has a serious face
Image by Jack Brockway

We would link up with other schools and swap ideas. I jotted down a few titles in a school notebook: Today, 1966, Focus!, Modern Britain and Interview. 

Then I wrote out what I wanted to publish and did some more sums. I wrote out a list of 250 MPs whom I found in Who’s Who, and a list of possible advertisers whom I found by going through the telephone book.

I also wrote to WH Smith asking whether they would be prepared to stock the magazine. Thus, with contributors, advertisers, distributors and costs all in place – at least on paper – I had written my first business plan.