I am fairly sure that everyone reading this post has at least a inkling of who Richard Branson is. For the few that do not know about one of the greatest businessmen of our era. To learn more about him and his businesses go to this Wikipedia article.
Richard Branson left school when he was 16 years old and started his first successful business Student Magazine. He had started two other ventures a year earlier that failed. To say that he is a poor student would actually be an incorrect statement. Although he performed poorly early on in traditional education settings, he had to be quite educated to start a successful business at such a young age. With every new business he starts and adventure he goes on he learns more and more. He learns from living life. What I mean by that is if he wants to learn or know something, he either researches it or experiences it. I would wager that his preference is on the actual experience.
As entrepreneurs when we want to expand our business, grow ourselves, or start new ventures we should just get in the game despite the obstacles. The worst that could happen is you learn something new.
My favorite thing that I have heard Richard Branson say is ” If you can run one successful company you can pretty much run any company”. He proved this when he was known primarily as a Entertainment entrepreneur he started a airline. Despite severe criticism and lots of people believing he just could not start a successful airline, he moved forward with Virgin Airlines. Virgin Airlines is now the #1 airline for flights between New York and England. Richard than proceeded to use that experience to launch a train and a space flight company. Richard Branson got the label “maverick” by not being afraid to take risks. Make no mistake these are well calculated risks but risks none the less.
To often we listen to the naysayers when it comes to our business. The “experienced and educated” tell us it is just not possible for whatever reason that suits them. The truly successful entrepreneurs rely on their inborn intuition on what they know they can accomplish. Become really good at running your business and then there is no reason that you cannot apply that same system to starting other successful businesses.
Richard Branson knows that running successful businesses is all about the people in your companies. He makes sure that he puts the right people in key positions. It all starts at the top and his company’s reflect his aura of boldness and seize the day mentality.
As entrepreneurs we should focus on these principles on a daily basis. Do not wager your business’s success by having the wrong people on your team. Consider your business like a plant that sometimes needs to pruned in order to grow. In the same measure you also need to identify your brightest and best people and move them to spots that will best utilize there talents and skills to help your company flourish. Richard Branson I am sure will tell you one of the primary keys to success is his skill with people.
Richard has never been afraid of what others may say including the British Government. The use of the word bullocks on the Sex Pistols album, was actually against British Law. He has drawn flack from many different organizations for many of his marketing campaigns. Even under extreme pressure he kept running the ads. Why? because they they were bringing results. The point I am making is that he saw what his competition was doing and did something different to set his company apart. This was the whole basis of his idea to start Virgin Airlines even though he had no experience starting a airline. He saw how terrible the customer service and experience was with other airlines and saw an opportunity to fill a need. Stop doing what everyone else is doing and set your business apart. I am not saying you have to do controversial advertising, there are many ways to set your business apart.
Richard Branson is also a philanthropist and although I am sure it is not the reason he is doing it, he and his companies receive a lot of press from it. Get involved in your communities, churches, and charities. It is the right thing to do as a responsible business owner. Do not just get involved personally, get your entire company involved. I believe in the power of giving and the more you give the more goodwill you will receive in return.
If you model these same behaviors of “The Maverick” Sir Richard you will undoubtedly find much success for you and your business.