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What Billionaire Richard Branson Wants Aspiring Entrepreneurs to Know

It's not about shining your shoes.
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When he's not weathering out super hurricanes in the wine cellar of his private island, Richard Branson is a fairly successful businessman. Record stores, airlines, space travel...the Virgin boss has done it all. As a result, he's received a fair few pitches from budding entrepreneurs25,000 of them, he estimates in his new autobiography.

In Finding my Virginityyes reallyhe reveals how his own empire was launched off the back of what he calls 'the beer mat pitch', and why this is the one key piece of advice he'd give hopeful entrepreneurs.

He recalls how Brett Godfrey, the CFO of regional airline Virgin Express at the time, asked if Branson had a minute to hear an idea of his and then said: "Hold on, I've got the idea on the back of some beer mat," reading his summarized idea off the back of a drinks coaster.

Branson explains in his book why this is the perfect pitch:

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"The best ideas don't always need to have detailed financial projections and complicated business proposals behind them. Sometimes they come fully formed on the back of a beer mat...If it can't fit onto the back of an envelope, it's probably a bad idea. Keep it short, sharp and picture-perfect."

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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