Richard Branson tells a story about how, in 1990, the still-young Virgin Atlantic airlines sponsored a soccer team that unexpectedly made it into the finals of the prestigious FA Cup.
“It was so unexpected that we were completely unprepared for things like getting merchandise together. The airline was running around to see if anybody could make t-shirts and promotional material to take to the stadium for fans.”
According to Branson, someone from the company ran into a young entrepreneur named Miles Peckham and asked him if he made shirts. He said no. Then he paused, then said yes.
“Despite having no previous experience, Miles immediately started a business making shirts, Watermark. He saved the day, worked day and night, and his shirts (were a big hit) at (the championship game).”
Today, Watermark has grown into a major event management company and one of their largest clients remains Virgin Atlantic.
Branson’s advice: A lot of businesses start with somebody pretending to do something they can’t. Next time opportunity knocks, just say yes!