Richard Branson was at the mere age of 20 when he founded Virgin;
Virgin began as a simple chain of record stores, but he certainly didn’t limit himself to just the music industry. Branson soon branched out to create many other sub-ventures such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Media, Virgin Games and so on.
Now one of the wealthiest British men in the world, Branson has built himself a huge empire with the Virgin name being spread across so many different niches.
Here are some of Richard Branson’s success lessons he has given to fellow entrepreneurs, in order to be successful in both business and life.
1. Don’t Do it if You Don’t Enjoy it
It’s no secret, running a business isn’t just a nice easy project you take up because you’d like a little bit more income on the side.
It takes a lot of extra work than you’re used to, it requires late nights and early mornings, and most importantly it requires determination and patience.
Branson had the right attitude towards building a business, which is that he would rather think of the idea as something that could help change other people’s lives and an achievement that he could be proud of.
Similarly to other very successful companies such as Google and Facebook, Branson didn’t set out to build an empire. He did it for the pure love of it, which really helps when it comes to the tough times of running one.
2. When People Say Bad things About You, Just Prove them Wrong
When your name starts to become even remotely recognized in the world, there will always be people who will have some sort of problem with you.
It could be because they’re jealous, they have nothing better to do, or they’re competitors that are scared you’ll soon be overtaking them.
In Branson’s words, “I think the best thing to do is just to prove them wrong in every single way”, and he’s done just that.
3. You Can’t Run a Business Without Taking Risks
The business world is filled with risks, and you can’t go through life not taking a single one, otherwise you’ll get nowhere near where you want to be.
It’s incredibly difficult to be able to achieve success when you’re playing it safe all the time. Besides, even walking out of the house every day has its risks.
One of Branson’s favorite quotes is:
“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all!”
It’s a very important quote, not just in business, but in life in general. Sure risks may not pay off, you may fail, but failure is the path to success.
4. Seek Both a Second and Third Opinion
The real truth is often clouded by your own judgement. Your eyes and ears may be perceiving what’s really there. With any new idea, the best thing is to always get more people to look at it and express how they feel about it.
Branson explains that you need to learn to be an excellent listener if you’re to succeed. After all, success in business doesn’t rely on just you being happy, it relies on others being happy. Searching for other’s opinions “can save you a lot of time and money.”
5. Don’t Give up
Kind of an obvious one I know, but far too many people quit because they’ve given it a go for a few months and haven’t seen any results.
If running a successful billion dollar business was easy, then everybody would be doing it, right?
There are always going to be momentary struggles where you feel like you want to give up, but you have to push through these and keep on working.
“I think I’m reasonably good at dealing with failure and not letting it get me down for more than an hour or two as long as I put everything I can into avoiding it.” – Richard Branson
6. Have a Sofa in the Kitchen
This piece of advice from Branson was quite an intriguing one. To be honest, I’m still not 100% sure I fully understand it, but here’s what he had to say on the subject.
“The truth is, so long as you’ve got a kitchen which has space for a sofa, and a bedroom, and a partner that you love, you don’t necessarily need the add-ons in life.” – Richard Branson
7. Pick up the Phone
Phone calling may seem a little dated now, what with email and SMS technology having advanced so much in recent years, however it still remains as a critical method of communication.
It’s the only real way to talk to someone quickly and freely, no matter who it is you need to get in contact with.
Branson thinks that people have been avoiding phone calls in “some misguided quest for efficiency.” Problems can be solved a lot more easily with a quick phone call, than having loads of emails bouncing around at random times.
“There is nothing efficient about letting a small problem escalate.” – Richard Branson
8. Be Visible
A British airline tycoon once gave Richard Branson a very good piece of advice when he was setting out on starting ‘Virgin Atlantic’, and that’s this:
“You are going to have to get out there and sell yourself. Make a fool of yourself, whatever it takes. Otherwise you won’t survive.”
This is excellent advice, how else do you expect to get your name heard?
Branson took everything he heard on board, and now strives to travel as much as he can, meet new people and discuss things face to face with as many people as he can.
9. Perfection is Unattainable
Richard Branson has the right attitude when it comes to perfection, and this point made is a truly genius one. Many people think that once they believe they’ve perfected something, they can sit back and relax.
Whilst you’re slacking, others are working very hard and they will soon surpass you if you just lay back and let them.
10. Believe in Your Ideas & Be the Best
What’s the point in putting so much effort into something you don’t believe in. How can you expect others to believe in your business if not even you can.
You need to be able to have a passion for what you do, believe in all your ideas and believe that you can become as successful as you could possibly imagine.
Branson said there was no point in creating an airline unless it was able to beat all of its competitors.
11. Being Optimistic is Always A Great Thing
Richard Branson is an optimist; he always emphasizes to grab the opportunities at the door.
According to him, if the mind is open and broad, it will tackle any tornado’s that come its way. Without thinking about the possibilities of winning and losing, it is far better to live and love your work completely.
It’s the positive mindset that stimulates in providing the necessary momentum to execute your work joyfully. We can’t anticipate the future, however merely sitting to wait to see what happens is probably not the best solution, is it?
“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.” – Richard Branson
12. Business is About Being True to Yourself
It’s become a stereotype that businesses are about showing off their status to their employees & staff.
It isn’t; in fact, it is simply about working on your concepts, attempting to implement them and seek the perfect platform to execute them on. Business-doers are busier than the job-doers as they become more realistic and lively in achieving their dreams.
Isn’t it better to decide to take the charge of your life?
“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.” – Richard Branson
13. The Best Way to Learn is By Doing
You may have heard this quote in a different way but eventually it all comes down to the same conclusion: The best teacher is the experience you get from learning.
Branson accentuates on doing things by yourself because trying, failing and repeating is the quickest way to learn where you’re going wrong, and how issues can be fixed.
You can study as much as you like, but taking action is the only way you’re really going to learn.
“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” – Richard Branson
14. Set Yourself Tough Challenges
When you go to the gym, you’re aiming to improve your body. To build strong biceps, a big chest and get those all important six pack abs.
You’ll see others already trying to do exactly that, and yet few have been able to attain their desired body shape.
The point being? You’re unable to compare yourself to other people. You just have to be clear about ‘Who you were yesterday and who you are today.’
Setting your own par gives you the privilege to accept dramatic change. Nothing in this world can give me more joy than setting an un-achievable goal and eventually reaching it successfully.
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently un-achievable challenges, and trying to rise above them.” – Richard Branson
15. Loyalty in Business is Crucial
At some point, you’re business is likely to suffer if your partners, or employees are not loyal to you. Loyalty is crucial in business.
Although loyalty is often underestimated, entrepreneurs should keep this in mind when they’re hiring people. Only the right team can take a company to it’s pinnacle; so make sure your team is loyal, will stand by you, and won’t end up costing you your business.
“You can’t do good business with a bad person. Find the right people to work with and you can’t go wrong.” – Richard Branson
16. Be Brave Enough to Do What Others Won’t
Anyone can run a mile, some can run 10 miles, but nobody will try and run for 100 miles.
Success is about doing the things that others don’t; in order surpass the level that others won’t. In order to outperform them with every task you complete and outmatch them with every project you undertake.
A change maker is someone who comes out of the whirlpool and swims back to the shore. Of course, it won’t be the easiest challenge to do, but doing it the way nobody else will, ends up pushing you in the direction of your dreams.
“Once a change maker, always a change maker but only a few swim against the tide.” – Richard Branson
17. Invest Your Money In New Ventures
Money attracts money. That’s right. Ambitious entrepreneurs won’t just sit around and loiter.
They’ll always think of expansion, taking their business to new heights, putting in continuous efforts to try and reach new customers. Investments in new ventures is the way to continue growing and expanding.
Having money just sitting around is no good to anyone. It needs to be re-invested in order to keep that growth coming!
“My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.”
18. Put Down Your Smartphone
Nowadays, you see millennials fooling themselves, wasting precious time in the myriad of social media networks.
And… if you’re not caught in the trap of this, you will definitely be caught in the cycle of email; See, Reply, & Repeat.
Branson stresses on telling business leaders and professionals that they should not be addicted to technology.
It’s more advisable to schedule a specific time during the day to reply to all emails and to go to meetings, rather than continuously engaging in this activity throughout the day. That’s a sure fire way to decrease your productivity.
“Don’t become a slave to technology – manage your phone, don’t let it manage you.” – Richard Branson