Sir Richard Branson. This great personality with over 300 companies under his head needs no introduction. He has faced many vicissitudes in his life, but his way of living life and looking at things has helped him achieve such a noble position in the world. His life constantly moved from one challenge to another. Let’s look at 20 inspiring life and business lessons you can learn from the Jack of all Trades, Richard Branson.
1. Screw It, Let’s do it
From starting his first record business where he ran a Students Magazine to launching Virgin Records, Richard Branson’s work life teaches a meaningful lesson to all the budding entrepreneurs. Seize the opportunities whenever they are present before you. Something will not happen by itself. Real deal lies in finding them.
“Entrepreneurship is not about getting over customers. It’s not about working on your own. It’s not about looking out for number one. It’s not necessarily about making a lot of money. On the contrary, it’s about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward.”
2. Try to achieve simplicity
Well, undoubtedly Richard Branson has told the problem underlying the field of entrepreneurship. People are thinking about complicated ideas which have sophisticated solutions. But, indeed what we need is a simple idea offering a great service simply. And, the main effort lies in doing it simply. Finding this simple and short solution is the main problem.
“When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity. Thinking simply and clearly, is hard to do.”
3. Always have a future insight
Virgin Galactic is one among the many other examples where Richard Branson foresaw an emerging market. When he observed a hike in the prices of gasoline, he took it as a chance to enter the fuel industry. The Virgin Green Fund invests in worldwide research and projects on development of renewable fuel.
Considering the scarcity and demand of the gasoline, this bet on alternative energy will pay off in the future for sure.
This clearly proves how a future insight into the existing market conditions might help you to take some important moves that will change your game for better.
4. Master the art of listening
“Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.”
Unarguably, listening to your customers, listening to the grievances, listening to your employees and listening to all the criticism as well is the basic skill required in all entrepreneurs. Until you listen, you really don’t know the effect on the society and possibly cannot rectify your errors.
5. Diversify whenever you can and anywhere you should
Richard Branson is glad that he did not continue with his record business, which saw a steady decline in 1999 after the launch of Napster. He has expanded his business into numerous business ventures like cosmetics, mobile, movies, just to name a few.
To have a good diversity is not so easy as it sounds to be. It needs a lot of brainstorming, planning and forecasting before on jumps to another business venture.
6. You will not learn until you do
Being one among the most successful businessmen worldwide without taking any course on business or management or so, he started his first publication without any prior knowledge of journalism.
So, you don’t have to be qualified to start a new venture. Experiment, make tons of mistakes, learn from it, rectify it and it is done.
“Take a chance. It’s the best way to test yourself. Have fun and push boundaries.”
7. Think Laterally
“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or what’s the fastest way to do it…think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it.”
By investing in complementary business ventures, Richard Branson created a mesh such that one boosts the other. It becomes tremendously easy to promote a musical artist when you own a night club and a record shop.
8.Be a dictator, but a benevolent one
Exercise your power well and act decisively. Richard Branson manages a healthy relationship with all his employees (he writes personal letters to his employees), as well as acts as the dictator.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
9. The only thing constant both in life and business is change
The most appropriate thing, which everyone can relate to in their life. How Richard Branson has shifted from one industry to another motivates entrepreneurs to be flexible and constantly change and adapt to survive.
“And you know, I’ve had great fun turning quite a lot of different industries on their head and making sure those industries will never be the same again, because Virgin went in and took them on.”
10. The more you fail, the better you turn out to be
Success is a trap. Once you are successful, you do not work the same way you did before you achieve. This is the problem with success. You have to succeed constantly to be successful. Instead, failures let you develop more powerful solutions and eventually become a strong competitor.
“Learn from failure. If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasn’t a success, welcome to the club!”
11. Your age does not matter
Richard Branson is a proof that it is never too early to start a business. If passion or need strikes you early, there is no right time to start after that. He started the record business when he was 16 and launched the Virgin Records by 22. Indeed too young? Not really according to him.
“Age isn’t as important so long as you are surrounded by people you love, doing things you passionately believe in.”
12. Take risks like Sir Richard Branson did
“When most people think about taking a risk they associate it with negative connotations, when really they should view it as a positive opportunity. Believe in yourself and back yourself to come out on top. Whether that means studying a course to enable a change of direction, taking up an entry level position on a career ladder you want to be a part of, or starting your own business – you’ll never know if you don’t give it a try.”
13. Have a positive perspective while dealing with things
Richard Branson cannot recall an incident when he lost his temper. He is so optimistic that even though he suffers from dyslexia, he has never bothered about it while establishing a great empire.
“Entrepreneurial business favors the open mind. It favors people whose optimism drives them to prepare for many possible futures, pretty much purely for the joy of doing so.”
14. Try to turn Problems into Profits
If you can do this, everything is managed well. Richard Branson started the Students Magazine to provide a platform to the youth to express their views. Similarly, the idea behind invention of Virgin Airways was simply that the other airways were not working.
The way he has converted problems such that these pay him well is brilliant. And all the entrepreneurs really wish to develop this insight and ability of Sir Richard Branson.
15. Depend on yourself and be true to yourself and your business
With over 300 companies under his leadership, out of which not all are successful, Richard Branson has always depended on his knowledge, insight and experience. This has helped him to overcome the failures and keep exploring new ventures. Until and unless you are true to yourself and your business, success becomes a virtual entity in your life, both personal and professional.
“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.”
16. There is a world beyond smartphones and laptops
Laptops and smartphones have definitely caught the attention of most of the youths today. However, you will not come up with great impactful ideas by sitting with them most of your time. Instead, it comes when you experience and learn from them. This has helped Richard Branson achieve success in his life.
“Don’t Become A Slave To Technology – Manage Your Phone, Don’t Let It Manage You.”
17. Work for free
Money is a necessity. Whenever you are planning to enter a new industry, sometimes the quickest way of earning money is doing something for free.
18. Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
How many times have you sacrificed your sleep for work? For most, it is countless. Richard Branson has emphasized on one simple fact that do not stress yourself and compromise with something that is a necessity. Work, but keep in mind the constraints and the limits.
19. Create Value in the World
Along with all the money-making businesses Richard Branson is heading, he has not restricted himself to the monetary world only. He has taken on Virgin Healthcare Foundation for treatment of AIDS. He pledged an amount of $3 Billion to help solve the global warming problem.
“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”
20. Love your work and Enjoy every part of it
“If you’re spending most of your life at work, it should not be a chore, it should be fun. If you’re the switchboard operator, you should feel as appreciated as one of the directors in the company. People very rarely leave companies because they don’t feel they’re being paid well enough. I mean, some do, but it’s much more that they come up an idea that they’re not being appreciated, they’re not being listened to, and they feel, ‘I’ll go off elsewhere and do something else.”
Good times ahead!
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