Mousuf Chowdhury | 21 Sep 2012, 2:28 PM |
Richard Branson, most possibly the most well known face of business oweners in the UK, founded Virgin in 1970 at the age of 20, and he hasn’t looked back.
Without a certificate from university, he is the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies in eight different industries.
How diffrent would have his life been if he had pursued to attain a degree. That is what he wonders in his new book,
We’ve compiled 6 of the best tips from his book here. 12 more to come in this 4 part addition.
The timeless advice Branson received when building Virgin Airlines was from Sir Freddie Laker, a British airline “tycoon.”
“Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages,” said Laker. “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”.
He stresses a point of traveling often and meeting as many people as he can. This, he says, is how he came by some of the best suggestions and ideas for his business.
The first impression is everything. So is the second.
The first impression you make on customers will most likely be when you acquire them. The first impression is extremely important, says Branson, but the second is equally as important.
The second time a customer usually contacts Virgin, it’s because he or she is having problems with the product or service. How you present yourself and your brand in these situations says a lot about how your brand maintains good customer relationships and handles obstacles.
Choose your name wisely.
The unique name and brand that Virgin employs is one of the things that has made the company a success. Branson makes sure that the name ‘Virgin’ represents added value, improved service, and a fresh, sexy approach.
Branson says that he is asked all the time about the origin of the Virgin name, back when Virgin was just starting. “One night, I was chatting with a group of sixteen-year-old girls over a few drinks about a name for the record store,” he says. “A bunch of ideas were bounced around, then, as we were all new to business, someone suggested Virgin. It smacked of new and fresh and at the time the word was still slightly risqué, so, thinking it would be an attention-grabber, we went with it.”
Perfection is unattainable.
“There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something,” says Branson. “When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it’, most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be labouring furiously to better their work!”
For this statement, Branson never gives anyone a 100% perfect review of their work. He believes that no matter how “brilliantly conceived” something is, there is always room for improvement.
Impossible to run a business without taking risks.
Branson says that of one of his favorite sayings when advising about taking business risks: ‘The brave may not live forever—but the cautious do not live at all!’
Every business involves risks. Be prepared to get knocked down, says Branson, but success rarely comes from playing it safe. You may fail, but Branson also dares to point out that “there’s no such thing as a total failure.”
Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it.
Running a business takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and caffeine. But at the end of the day, you should be building something you will be proud of.
Branson says, “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.”