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I've never had the guts to go for it on my own in terms of running a business.  I have enjoyed working, at different points in my working life, for a couple of different solo business owners, so I found the list of five steps for success, as presented in Business Insider by self-made billionaire Richard Branson, very interesting:

1. Hire passionate, excellent people.
2. Never forget that your employees make your business.
3. Don't concentrate on mistakes — focus on praising great things, instead.
4. Have fun.
5. Don't be afraid to just go for it.

Here's my take on each:

  1. I've seen this work.  I worked at an IT company where my boss hired people that enjoyed what they were doing and were willing to go above and beyond.  In addition, he looked for people with a willingness to learn and who didn't have fear about getting involved in new things.  This paid off and allowed the company to adapt and thrive, especially around the Y2K craze.
  2. With the same company, this led to great success and also almost shut the place down.  For the first few years I worked there, the owner treated us all very well and made sure we were treated like family.  After Y2K passed and things slowed down, a lot of changes and cuts were made.  This ended up driving away many of the top performers (myself included).  Eventually, the owner realized the error of his ways in moving away from the 'employees first' mantra, and even apologized for losing sight.  He's since stabilized the business now that he's back on track.
  3. Everybody makes mistakes.  It happens.  I worked for years for a family member who had a retail shop.  He would often take chances on new product lines, ordering before they hit the market.  Some took off.  Others flopped.  With the flops, he was always willing to cut his losses and move on to the next thing.
  4. The atmosphere of both entrepreneurial companies that I worked for were both fun and energetic.  Both encouraged people to get to know each other, to work together, and to have fun along with doing the job.
  5. I admire both of the owners that I've had the opportunity to work for.  As I said, I haven't been able to take this step and now that I've got a family to support, it may never happen.  I'm OK with that, but for those who have the itch, I firmly believe that just ‘going for it' is the right thing to do!