In an interview with Foundr magazine , billionaire British businessman Richard Branson explained what he thought every new start-up needed in order to succeed – ‘If you can ensure your business responds to a real need out there in the market place, your business can punch well above its weight.’ It’s a principle that can certainly be applied to his newest commercial venture Virgin Galactic – who doesn’t want to say they’ve been to space? – and has served him well ever since he first launched Virgin Records. Find your niche, make sure there’s a demand and then do your job well. But it would be foolish to pretend that the path to success is not lined with obstacles; according to Forbes, 90 per cent of start-ups fail. There are multiple reasons why this sorry majority become derailed (Inc.Magazine suggests everything from arrogance to sloppiness), meaning that one of the smartest things any new business can do is listen to those who have been there before them and hear their war stories. For the benefit of every new business starting this week, this month or this year, we put one simple question to eight British enterprises and left them to mull it over. We asked them: ‘What do you wish you’d known on day one?’ This is what they told us.