Golden Moments: The Right Advice at the Right Time

Author: Knowledge Gate GroupDecember 30, 2020 · 4 min read

Golden Moments: The Right Advice at the Right Time



This article presents two famous companies that profited from expert advice at critical moments

All big companies were once small and in need of expert advice. Often that advice was critical to their future success. Virgin Atlantic would not have soared without Sir Richard Branson asking Sir Freddie Laker for help. Mark Zuckerberg would not be the CEO of Facebook today without the advice of Sean Parker.

Branson’s mentor for Virgin Atlantic

Going it alone is an admirable but foolhardy and flawed approach to taking on the world.” Sir Richard Branson. When Branson started Virgin Atlantic he was under no illusion about the fight he would face from the incumbent airlines. So he went straight to the man who was the expert. Sir Freddie Laker had started his trans-Atlantic airline in 1977. But after fierce competition from the likes of British Airways and Pan Am, his company collapsed in 1982. Branson was not put off by Laker’s failure, instead, he saw it as invaluable. Laker’s mentorship helped Branson’s business in two main ways. Free publicity. Laker advised Branson to generate free publicity by making himself the face of the company, “Use yourself. Make a fool of yourself. Otherwise, you won’t survive”. Branson learned that he could put his company on the front page for free rather than having to pay to be at the back. This became a key part of the branding for all Branson’s future ventures. Branson became the brand. Second, Laker advised on many of the mundane details of setting up and running an airline. Branson knew how to run a business but he did not know how to run an airline.

“It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker.” Sir Richard Branson.

Facebook and the expert advice that saved Zuckerberg

Another famous company that benefited from expert advice at the right time was Facebook. “Sean was pivotal in helping Facebook transform from a college project into a real company.” Mark Zuckerberg. When Sean Parker started working for Facebook he was 24 but already a tech-business expert. He had co-founded Napster and had founded and lost Plaxo, an early social media platform. Both were super influential but had ultimately failed. Parker helped Zuckerberg in two main ways. He convinced Zuckerberg to back himself. From the beginning, he saw that Facebook was going to be huge. So, early on when Zuckerberg said that he wanted to return to Harvard to continue his degree, Parker insisted otherwise. Zuckerberg eventually relented. If Zuckerberg had left, Facebook would probably not exist today.

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” Zig Ziglar.

Second, Parker used his contacts and experience to secure funding for Facebook. But he also ensured that Zuckerberg would keep future control of the company. Parker did not want Zuckerberg to lose control as he had at Plaxo. So he was selective in the investors he chose and was tough in the negotiations. Without Parker, Zuckerberg would have struggled to find funding or would have been forced to surrender control to get it; he would not be the CEO of Facebook today. Parker’s expert advice saved Zuckerberg.

Leverage the experience of experts. Experts take you and your company further than if you go it alone

Every business needs expert advice

Maybe you are not the next Branson or Zuckerberg or maybe you are regardless, every business can benefit from expert advice at critical moments. When you do not have the experience for the situation in front of you, leverage the experience of experts. Experts can take you and your company further than if you go it alone.

In an upcoming blog, we will look at some different places where you can find expert advice.