A story of revolution… Branson style.

A story of revolution… Branson style.

Richard Branson is the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar Virgin companies in eight different industries — and he did it all without a degree in business.

“Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been,” he writes in his book, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.

We’ve compiled our top 5 of the best tips from “Like a Virgin,” and his more recent book, “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership”, here to shed some light on Virgins global success.

Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it

Running a business takes blood, sweat, and tears (and usually lots of coffee). But at the end of the day, you should be building something you will be proud of for life.

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.”

Be visible

Branson received some timeless advice when building Virgin Airlines 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.”

Branson always makes 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.

Source: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

Choose your brand’s 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. This brand name unlike many has not been changed, modified or updated from the original logotype for the almost 50 years that the brand has been in existence.

Branson says he’s asked all the time about the origin of the Virgin name. “One night, I was chatting with a group of 16-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.”

Source: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

Listen more — talk less

Rearrange the letters in the word “listen,” and you get “silent,” Branson points out. The only way to listen to the other person is to be silent, without interrupting them or planning what you want to say before they’re done.

Branson never goes anywhere without a physical notebook so that he can write down things that other people say and remember them. It’s his secret business weapon, he says, as it also leads to new business ideas as he goes.

Source: The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership

You can’t run a business without taking risks

Branson thinks of one of his favourite sayings when advising people 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 points out that “there’s no such thing as a total failure.”

Source: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

by Alex Myers – Founder, Amplify Industries