For me, the one entrepreneur who personifies the chutzpah, smarts, vision, and pure enjoyment that is entrepreneurship has to be Richard Branson.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Branson started out as small as a small business could be – bartering rent for his music store that sat above a shoe shop in London. Today of course, The Virgin Group is made up of more than 400 companies around the world, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and Virgin Mobile. He’s also the author of six books, including one of my favorites, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Branson started out as small as a small business could be.
So, what does the great entrepreneur say it takes to succeed in business? I have culled seven tips from his books, blogs, and interviews to share with you today:
1. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: Inspiration and growth cannot be found in the comfort zone. Far from it. Branson says that they are found through challenge and risk.
“One of the great benefits of taking on challenges in your working life is that you and your team learn to confront risk together and also to lose sometimes. The calculated risks you and your team take should be strategic judgments, not just blind gambles: Protect the downside by figuring out the odds of success, working out what the worst possible consequences would be, then deciding whether to accept.” (Entrepreneur.com).
2. Embrace Social Media: Social media is a revolution and can help you stay in touch with the world. Branson says it changed it changed his life. According to Sir Richard, “entrepreneurs need to take their businesses to where the conversation is happening — mobile phones, tablets and laptops.” As such, social media is “the perfect venue” for entrepreneurs.
3. Treat People Well: “I don’t think the stereotype of a business person treading all over people to get to the top, generally speaking, works. If you treat people well, people will come back for more. And I think all you have in life is your reputation, and it’s a very small world. And I actually think that the best way of becoming a successful business leader is dealing with people fairly and well.” (Ted.com).
4. Being a Good Boss is Critical: Along the same lines, with over 65,000 employees, Richard Branson knows a thing or two about being a boss. “Don’t wait until an employee comes to you and says he’s ready to leave before you start thinking about what his goals are and what keeps him happy – this should be part of your hiring decision. Before you make a prospect a job offer, be sure to consider how his plans for his career fit with your company’s” (Entrepreneur.com).
5. Don’t be Afraid to Fail: Virgin Brides and Virgin Cola were flops, but that did not deter Branson. He keeps innovating and creating.
6. Have Fun: “I think work should be fun, it should be enjoyable. It should be satisfying. I think to many companies don’t realize the monotony of a lot of peoples day-to-day life at work, and I think a lot of people should try to encourage things like working from home, or if people want to job share they should be able allowed to job share, so just more flexibility generally. (Virgin.com)
7. Remember, You Don’t Have To Know Everything: Dyslexic and a poor student, Branson left school when he was 15. He has spoken often about his educational history, as well as being at his board meetings not knowing the difference between net and gross. Guess what? Not knowing didn’t stop him from taking action or being successful.
“It’s useful to add up, subtract, and maybe multiply, and apart from that you can create an empire with 60,000 employees and find other people to add up the numbers at the end of the year.” (NPR.org).
Yep, Richard Branson is one of the great entrepreneurs ever, and he regularly blogs and shares his wisdom. You can read more here.