As a 15-year-old student, I was disgruntled with the archaic school practices of the day, and was vocal about it.
My 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 publication, Student magazine, was hatched.
We got an incredible team of people around us who we were very fortunate to have support us as Student magazine came to life. I always try to celebrate and thank the wonderful teams who help make our businesses thrive and Student is no exception. For example, on Student we had a talented designer named Bob Morley who worked incredibly hard to make it a success.
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 I found in Who’s Who, and a list of possible advertisers I found by going through the telephone book.
I also wrote to WHSmith 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.
It’s amazing how your ideas can take flight, so long as your write them down and share them with others. And as you can see from my story, a business plan doesn’t have to be a lengthy, well-thought-out proposal – it can be as simple as some notes in a notebook, or a scribble on the back of an envelope.
However, if you are looking for a little more structure, get Virgin StartUp’s business plan below.