In the world of business, it is always believed that there are set norms and that owners are expected to follow them. But, there are some who believe in the old, ‘rules are made to be broken’ adage. That’s how Richard Branson perceived his business to be. He always believed in the mantra:
“Oh, Screw it, let’s do it!”
As an entrepreneur, who has invested in and survived through a diverse range of businesses for more than 25 years, Sir Richard Branson is perhaps one of the most captivating stories in the world of business. He started with a music company (Virgin Records), then transitioned into the airline industry (Virgin Atlantic Airways), and after that he ventured into the Cola business (Virgin Cola) on a journey that included many more successful stops.
Richard can be tagged as one the most versatile business owners around as he has a track record of owning businesses ranging from finance to bridal wear. Such a diverse portfolio is rarely observed amongst other entrepreneurs. You can say he likes to be the ‘Jack and master of all trades.’
Branson has set his own norms for success. He developed companies across the globe with no central headquarter or specific management hierarchy and minimum bureaucracy.
With such an adventurous, fun-loving and daring attitude, the risk involved in entrepreneurship also increases. This has resulted in a rollercoaster ride for him where he has experienced success, failure and learnt more about entrepreneurship from both.
Here are three important lessons that can be learnt through his autobiography –‘Losing My Virginity’:
#1-You Don’t Have To Be Born An Entrepreneur
Most individuals learn through their personal experiences. This means irrespective of the background or culture you have been raised in, you can always continue to evolve as an entrepreneur.
Due to the unique upbringing that he received Richard Branson learnt to tackle entrepreneurship in a way that was unique for the rest of the business community. At the age of 11, his mom sent him to his grandparent’s home which was approximately 50 miles away without providing him with any specific directions.
He successfully figured out the right way on his own and returned the next day on his bike. This is one particular instance but there are several such similar episodes that eventually shape up the adventurous and daring attitude that he carries with him today.
It is not just him but if you start researching about various other entrepreneurs you are likely to find traces of unique and strong instances that build up to what they are today.
The common denominator in all such fascinating stories about entrepreneurial success is that you shouldn’t be de-motivated or discouraged if you feel that you were not ‘born’ an entrepreneur.
Fortunately, today the internet is like a blessing that allows you to pick up entrepreneurial nuances and tricks from industry leaders. The thumb rule here is that you do not necessarily have to be a pure-bred entrepreneur to be a successful entrepreneur or to run a successful business.
The journey is surely going to be different for those who have to develop entrepreneurial skills but don’t let perceived deficiencies eliminate you from the rat race.
#2- Practice Creativity Every Day
The main reason why Richard Branson is considered the ultimate jack of all trades is because he can foresee profits where other owners cannot even imagine a business opportunity. He simply transfers his dilemma into cash and this is possible only when you are extremely creative.
Very few business owners would have considered renting a plane and selling seats while they were vacationing in Hawaii. They would have not given thought until and unless they were dealing with a work emergency while holidaying.
Creativity cannot be developed overnight; you need to practise it day in and day out. There is hardly any idea or venture that you can think of instantly and execute spontaneously. The best trick here, is to keep pursuing creative solutions to deal with everyday problems being encountered by your business.
For example, several business owners wait until their loan gets sanctioned by the bank while they lose out on a good expansion opportunity. However, a creative entrepreneur will look for an innovative solution like alternative finance so that they can capitalise on a lucrative opportunity that has fallen their way.
#3- One-Risk At A Time
As we have mentioned previously, Richard Branson has an adventurous personality and that’s the reason why he is recognised as an adventurous entrepreneur as well. Any normal person would think at least twice before adopting such a carefree and creative approach when juggling multiple businesses.
As every business is different in nature be it a record studio or running an airline company. If you read the book carefully you will note that he has the knack of foreseeing business value. This way, he predicts where he is going to venture into next and has complete focus in it. He puts in cent percent effort to get this business right and leaves no stone unturned to make it successful.
Branson always looks for the next opportunity once he has reached a specific mark. The best example is that he started mail order business only when he was satisfied with success of his magazine business.
So, do not get fooled with the art of multi-tasking as it can ruin all your businesses at the same time. Instead, pick one adventure at a time and enjoy the adrenaline rush which pushes you towards the path of victory.
‘Losing My Virginity’ is a compilation of all such entertaining elements and is worth reading. It is fun, interesting and at the same time you get to learn life-lessons that will help you along the way.