Recently I attended a Women’s Network breakfast with Richard Branson as the VIP.
I thought that this was a great opportunity and I set myself a goal of not only getting a photo with Sir Branson but to also hand Richard a business proposal. Many of my friends thought I was nuts and had no chance – that he’d probably have another 100 people running after him trying to tell him their business idea. Despite this warning, I still put together my A4 business proposal and headed off for the breakfast.
I arrived at the venue and quickly realised that I had been quite naïve – this was actually going to be a pretty big event – in fact 1700 people were estimated to be present. There were 170 or more tables seating nine. I sat myself down in my allocated table which was pretty much in the centre of the room around ten tables back from the stage.
The event started and the room filled up with people. Sir Richard Branson entered from the main entrance and was escorted by a clapping crowd down the side of the hall and ushered onto the stage. I thought to myself, “Well there is no way I am even going to get close to the guy let alone give him my proposal”…. But I still didn’t let this stop me.
The turning point with Sir Richard Branson
When Sir Richard Branson finished speaking, he chose my side of the aisle to exit from and as he walked right past me, I managed to shake hands with him, but he was swept away before I even touched my proposal! I grabbed my bags and headed after him but he was rushed off into another room to do VIP photos. Next minute however the door opened and he walked right past me. No one else had even noticed him! So I walked up to him and said “Richard – can I just give you this proposal“ and I handed him my proposal with my business card attached. He said “thanks” and I watched him leave that event with my A4 proposal in his hands reading it!!
In the end I was the only person in that room of 1700 people that had a proposal on paper to give to Richard Branson. My piece of paper was the only piece of paper Richard Branson left with that day.
The key message of this story is that most of us follow and listen to the crowds who usually don’t have the courage and determination to follow their goals. Especially as women we tend not to take as many risks as men and also often not pursue our ambitions in fear of being embarrassed or failing.
Never assume and always make the most of any opportunity – you have nothing to lose
As this story shows, it’s so important to take advantage of situations and just go for it. And it’s only through persistence and courage that you can actually achieve anything you set your mind to. Not one other person had the initiative that day to do what I did – why? Most likely because they all thought the same and assumed that it was just not possible. Never assume and always make the most of any opportunity – you have nothing to lose. I hope this story inspires all the women out there to always orchestrate an opportunity to take advantage of a good situation and to follow your ideas and goals.
I am still waiting to hear back from Sir Richard Branson, but I am definitely a big step ahead from the millions of others out there that would only dream of personally handing him a business proposal.
Will keep you posted :-)
Image credit : Gulltaggen
Jana Krizova Hocken
Jana is a Business Improvement and Lean specialist, trainer and coach with over 12 years of experience working in more than 20 countries and with some of the world’s leading companies, helping hundreds of people and their businesses continuously improve and evolve. She founded Improve8 in 2012 to inspire, empower and support small businesses to achieve their potential.