Start-ups, ignore Branson’s advice

“Caroline Plumb and I were thinking about starting a consultancy business,” he recalls. “We had just finished university and we were being wined and dined by Accenture who were recruiting graduates. I wanted his opinion on what I should do with my life.”

To his credit, Branson didn’t have Osmond removed but listened to the wannabe-entrepreneur’s quandary.

“I asked him, ‘Should I become a consultant with a big firm and think about starting up my own business later, or should I bite the bullet now?’”

“Better become a consultant,” came the tycoon’s reply.

Osmond and Plumb went on to found Freshminds, the research and recruitment consultancy, later that year. Seven years on, the company is seeing revenues of £6.3m and profits of more than £1m, with an overseas expansion on the cards.

“I’m glad to say that we ignored his advice,” laughs Osmond.

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