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Richard Branson is known as a titan of business, but he stumbled into his most lucrative enterprise. Branson's foray into the airline industry began when a flight to the Virgin Islands was canceled. He didn't want to wait around, so the British businessman explored chartering a plane. He couldn't afford it on his own, but Branson ordered the plane anyway. After finding a blackboard in the airport, Branson wrote that tickets for his chartered flight cost $29, and so began Virgin Airlines. From there, Branson's spontaneous airline clawed its way to relevance in the airline industry.

Entrepreneurship comes in all shapes and sizes, but two common denominators define every successful startup: opportunity and struggle. Look for the former and embrace the latter as you launch your business.

Getting off the Ground

The majority of entrepreneurial dreams die without ever making it off the ground. Most startups need an influx of cash to make it, and asking for money is hard. Fortunately, entrepreneurs have unprecedented new ways of raising capital. Crowdfunding is a popular trend that gives aspiring entrepreneurs the means to pursue their dreams. In this model, everyday people can donate to a startup in exchange for some sort of incentive. Goldieblox, a line of construction toys geared toward girls, got its start on Kickstarter.com, raising more than $285,000. Startups can also look to more traditional fundraising options, including bank loans and venture capital investments. If you have a sound business plan and a stable credit history, you'll get your shot to turn an idea into reality.

Getting the Word Out

Gust.com reports that roughly 1,500 startups get funded by venture capitalists each year, and all of those businesses need to conduct some form of marketing growth. In a market oversaturated with brands and slogans, startups are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. For many, that means marketing on social media sites, where potential customers can ask questions, interact and share information. EMarketer.com dubbed 2014 "the year of social acceptance," in which more U.S. marketers will purchase ads on Facebook, promoted Tweets on Twitter and sponsored posts on Linkedin with greater aggressiveness.

Startups don't need expansive budgets to start spreading the word on social media, however. The most influential social businesses build their following one connection at a time.

Making a Profit

Each startup reaches a point in which it must pay the piper, whether that's the bank, investors or landlord. That takes revenue, and it needs even more revenue if it hopes to make a profit. Your business will rise or fall based on the merit of your products and services, but you can position your startup to accept money from multiple platforms. Intuit credit card processing services, for example, enable small business owners to accept credit cards from their mobile devices. Online stores offer consumers a convenient way to purchase. Tailor your purchasing strategy to your target consumers, and make the process as easy as possible.

Written by Kellie Conway, 

Content Advocate, BlueFirePR


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