Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies. Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age. At the age of sixteen his first business venture was a magazine called Student. In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson’s Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. In March 2000, Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship”. For his work in retail, music and transport (with interests in land, air, sea and space travel), his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he became a prominent figure. In 2002 he was named in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. In March 2017, Forbes listed Branson’s estimated net worth at $5 billion. [Excerpt from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Below are some inspirations that can be drawn from him
I think it’s quite great to set yourself a big challenge, and then you’ve got another reason for keeping fit.
When I was four, my mother insisted I get out of the car and find my own way home. Although I got lost, I did find my way home. It taught me the value of independence at an early age.
When I was a kid, I had a tendency to criticize. But when I did, my mum would whisk me off to the bathroom to stand in front of a mirror. Ten minutes, never less. To think about how criticism is a poor reflection on the one who criticizes.
On one of my last days at school, the headmaster said I would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. That was quite a startling prediction, but in some respects, he was right on both counts!
Back when I was in school, few people understood dyslexia and what to do for it. My teachers thought I was lazy and not very clever, and I got bored easily… thinking of all the things I could do once I left school. I couldn’t always follow what was going on.
Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business, I often wonder how different my life and career might have been.
My early business ventures included growing Christmas trees and breeding birds.
There’s no point in starting a business unless you’re going to make a dramatic difference to other people’s lives. So if you’ve got an idea that’s gonna make a big difference to other people’s lives, then just get on and do it.
It’s rare for a startup to make money immediately, so you need to make sure that you have enough saved or that you have another income stream that can support you.
Starting your own business isn’t just a job – it’s a way of life.
One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.
A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.
Entrepreneurs are natural problem-solvers, which means that we always have ideas for new businesses popping into our heads. Having a lot of options is great, but sometimes it can be hard to focus on one when you are keen to move onto the next.
I nearly failed when Virgin was in its infancy; I nearly failed in the early 1980s, and, of course, I have nearly died more than once trying to achieve a world record for boating or ballooning. But through a combination of luck and planning, both Virgin and I are still here.
Overcoming fear is the first step to success for entrepreneurs. The winners all exemplify that, and the hard work and commitment they have shown underlines what is needed to set up a business.
An important priority for me is a business must get their own house in order. Be or become an agent of positive change in your own enterprise and adopt responsible practices to eliminate the risks that often lie at the root of inequality and poverty.
It’s a common misconception that money is every entrepreneur’s metric for success. It’s not, and nor should it be.
My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.
To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.
In business, if you realize you’ve made a bad decision, you change it.
From a young age, I learned to focus on the things I was good at and delegate to others what I was not good at. That’s how Virgin is run. Fantastic people throughout the Virgin Group run our businesses, allowing me to think creatively and strategically.
When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn’t set out to build a business empire… For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.
Treat failure as a lesson on how not to approach achieving a goal, and then use that learning to improve your chances of success when you try again. Failure is only the end if you decide to stop.
I think, because I started Virgin when I was a teenager, it has become a part of me, like my family, and I am motivated by ambition for it, almost as if it were a child.
I suppose Virgin is an unusual brand in that I suspect we’re the only ‘way of life’ brand in the world. We’re one of maybe the top 30 best known brands in the world, yet if you look at the other 29, they all specialize in one area. Whether it’s Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, etc., they all generally specialize in one area.
The art of delegation is one of the key skills any entrepreneur must master.
Every successful businessman will have experienced set-backs and failures – they’re lying if they say they haven’t. Virgin has had some tremendously successful businesses and some that have not quite worked out. Virgin Cola springs to mind – the product wasn’t distinct enough from Coca-Cola.
I don’t think so, in that Virgin is already a global brand. Brands like Amazon have had to spend hundreds of millions of pounds you know, building their brands, whereas Virgin is already well-known around the world.
With Virgin, I’ve just loved creating things. And as a private company, I can get away with moving Virgin from records to airlines to train companies to space companies to whatever, without ever having to worry about analysts knocking the value of my stock.
We, we – as I say, we go in and shake up other industries and I think, you know, we do it differently and I think that industries are not quite the same as a result of Virgin attacking the market.
From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better.
A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be?
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.
Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
More businesses should be following Apple’s stance in encouraging more investment in sustainability.
All you have in business is your reputation – so it’s very important that you keep your word.
If you want to be more productive, then start at the start: get there on time. Whether it is a meeting, a flight, an appointment or a date, it’s important to ensure you are there when you say you will be there. This may feel like an old-fashioned tip to give, but it has served me well for five decades in business.
A complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend. I say that seriously, not as some press release baloney.
You should not build your customer service system on the premise that your organisation will never question the whims of your clients.
If you are a small company taking on a big company, you need to have a sense of humor.
Most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But I know I am successful, wealthy, and connected because I am happy.
Be willing to use yourself to get out there and put the company on the market. If you have to make a fool of yourself, make a fool of yourself, but make sure that you end up on the front pages, not the back pages. In time, it’s possible that your company will stand out from the crowd, and you’ll be successful.
I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn’t really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.
My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again.