Don’t give away your best assets

After five decades in business, I love sharing what I have learned with other entrepreneurs to help them on their journeys. Sometimes this takes place quite formally, in Q&As around the world. But on other occasions, life throws up suprising moments to share my experience. One occasion recently combined the two.

Richard Branson Virgin StartUp live mentoring

I joined a live mentoring session with Virgin StartUp in London, ahead of the Fast Track 100 Awards. There is nothing more crucial to the success of a start up than good mentorship. With that in mind, we had 20 mentoring pairs made up of entrepreneur mentees and Fast Track alumni mentors, learning from and sharing with each other.

Then I took to the stage with a couple of Virgin StartUp-supported business founders, Elsie from the Clean Beauty Company and Will from Vitae London. Will gave me the opportunity for some (literal) offhand advice. His company makes elegant watches with purpose, and he gave me one of their new watches.

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I wondered what on earth he was doing. I took the watch, but jokingly scolded Will for his freebie. I got my wallet out and paid for Will’s watch in full. I gave him my old watch too, which I believe he is planning to use as a reward on Vitae London’s Indiegogo campaign, which is live now.

As a young entrepreneur, one of the most important things you need to do is value your product, and keep cash flow healthy. You absolutely shouldn’t give your products away so early on, especially when it is so valuable. Market, by all means, but don’t give away your best assets.

Richard Branson Virgin StartUp live mentoring

Anyway, I’m always happy to have a new watch. It comes in handy for one of my other simple lessons for entrepreneurs – never be late!

To find out more lessons from Fast Track 100 head over to my blog, and go to Virgin StartUp to learn more about our non-profit helping entrepreneurs with funding and advice to turn business ideas into reality.

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