Sir Richard Branson is a highly successful British entrepreneur. He created the Virgin Group with more than 400 businesses including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile, even a space exploration company Virgin Galactic. A high-school dropout, Branson is a highly unconventional entrepreneur who overcame his dyslexia to become a self-made billionaire.
From his various writings and interviews, here are some business tips from Richard Branson.
Entrepreneur Magazine published an article by Richard Branson on his five secrets to success. Branson wrote about the importance of creating something that stands out:
“Whether you have a product, a service or a brand, it is not easy to start a company and to survive and thrive in the modern world. In fact, you’ve got to do something radically different to make a mark today.
Look at the most successful businesses of the past 20 years. Microsoft, Google or Apple, for example, shook up a sector by doing something that hadn’t ever been done and by continually innovating. They are now among the dominant forces.”
UK’s The Telegraph newspaper compiled inspiration success tips from Richard Branson, one of which is:
“There will be lots of downs. Do your best to fight tooth and nail to survive. And if you don’t survive, if you have worked damned hard, don’t get down about it. There’s a lot of successful entrepreneurs who have picked themselves up and started again.”
He also believes that successful entrepreneurs need to learn how to say “no”:
“I turn people down with extreme difficulty sometimes, because the people I’m saying no to are people I don’t want to discourage. And it should be difficult. Saying no shouldn’t be an easy thing to do, and you have to be good at it. I often used to dodge doing it myself, and hide behind other people and delegate it, but if you’re the boss, that isn’t the right thing to do.”
In an article on BusinessDay he explained how he chooses business ventures:
At a casual glance, one would think that we have been rather opportunistic in our choices over the years about the businesses and sectors into which we expanded. Initially, we moved into areas where I had a personal interest (such as music and media); then, as we began to understand more about Virgin’s strengths in terms of customer service, where we felt industries were ready for shaking up (airlines, health clubs, mobile phones); and more recently where my passion for exploration has taken us (space and deep ocean tourism).
Our choices were not random or merely reactive, but guided by our decision to take an entrepreneurial approach to expansion. Instead of pushing our teams to do ever more intensive analysis to pick our next venture – which can slow the whole business down – I set a priority on our remaining open to new ideas. It is one of the reasons that I always urge people to pursue their own interests outside work and to take regular vacations. Exercising your creativity in other settings isn’t just relaxing; you’ll stay informed about developments in other fields and connect with a wider circle of people than you might encounter at work. Keeping your thinking fresh and original makes good business sense!
Here’s a Youtube video of Sir Richard Branson giving advice on what it takes to succeed in business: