I just completed reading Richard Branson’s autobiography title “Losing My Virginity”. I am even more fascinated by Branson after reading the book. He is a true entrepreneur.
He says that there is no success formula for business. You have to be out there doing it and have a good team and of course a fair amount of luck. These will help in you being successful but do not guarantee it.
His first concern is always to protect the downside and to make sure the new venture added to the Virgin brand.
He always structures the companies that give the manager and his team a shareholding in the business. That way they are highly motivated to succeed. I myself have always noticed that companies where they have part ownership always have fantastic customer service. Branson’s philosophy is to treat your employees very well and they will take care of the customers who will help the shareholders, instead of the major corporate philosophy of putting the shareholders first then the customers and lastly the employees.
Branson always carries a notebook and asks customers how to increase service where ever he goes. Also asking your employees what can be improved is key.
He embraced change which is why he went from record stores to being a record label and beyond. Don’t have blinders on to what your business is. Be willing to change.
In order to be able to change to market conditions he keeps his companies separate and small. He wants each Virgin subsidiary to be efficient and manageable in size.
He picks products and services if he or his family would like them. It is that simple.
Branson has had many attacks over the years, the lawsuit with British Airways being a big case which he won. Always protect your product and services reputation with vigilance. “If an inaccurate story appears in the press and is allowed to run for more than one issue of the paper, it becomes fact. Then every time your product is mentioned, this same story will be repeated.”
I highly recommend reading Losing My Virginity.