8 things I learned from Richard Branson

Author

shereen|mitwalli

International Presenter,
Motivational Speaker,
Life and Communication Coach.

8 things I learned from Richard Branson

Keep things fun and keep going – this is just one of the many simple, yet powerful ideas, that I personally learned from Richard Branson himself.  Imagine, for a man who is in his 60s and very accomplished, Branson still says that he doesn’t want to retire and that there’s still so much for him to do – he’s still happy to work, travel, and explore.

I’ve met and interviewed Branson on a number of occasions and all I can say is that this mega-entrepreneur man is always quirky, never boring, beyond inspiring, and limitless!

I learned so much from him and realized a lot, especially when it comes to managing my business and team.  So here are a few success tips from Branson that I’ve adopted:

1. Hire people that bring skills you don’t have 

 

I surround myself with people who have knowledge and talents in areas where I might not be so well versed.

One of the smartest things you can do for your business is hiring people who can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

For example, digital marketing and SEO are vital elements for client acquisition in my business. Since those areas require a specific skill set to handle such tech, I would hire digital-savvy people to specifically look into the optimization of our online efforts to ensure and generate higher rankings and traffic towards my business.

From a business owners perspective, you can’t be perfect.

A lot of people possess transferable skills that you as an owner could implement. So looking for those individuals who can fill in those gaps could be a great asset to the growth of your business.

Think about the potential problems you could come across in some of the areas in your business and recruit someone with the capability of abrogating those issues in order to make the necessary improvements. Your Business will definitely benefit from having people with diverse skills and ideas that will not challenge and develop the company but will also contribute to its building foundation in the future.

will definitely help build and develop your company

Your business will definitely benefit from having diverse people with diverse skills and ideas to challenge and develop the company into the future.

2. Make business fun 

 

If you’re spending most of your life at work, it should not be a chore, it should be fun.

Dedication to fun’ is one of Branson’s philosophies that successfully cultivated the brand image and culture of the multinational corporation venture capital, ‘Virgin Group’.  One of Branson’s recommendations is breaking down barriers in your business’ corporate hierarchy through team-building, marathons, events, parties, and other initiatives that will enhance social connections that will help in maintaining a comfortable vibe and atmosphere for the team to brainstorm and share ideas openly.

Every week, you spend more time with your colleagues than your family – which means, the office almost becomes your second home.  If the work environment is not fun and running on a cut-throat culture – not to mention the pressures, KPIs to be met, and frustrations from clients – would you be excited to come to work? Would you be creative and productive?

It will surely be depressing for you.

Create a culture where your team members would love to work and allow them to laugh. In my office, I always encourage my team members to play music, brainstorm over chocolate croissants and cheese sticks (because that’s what I love to eat), doodle on the whiteboard, engage in various activities/games during our sales meeting, capture their office moments and post on social media, laugh over crazy ideas, and so on – things that I know will trigger their creativity and positive energies.

When I see my team members enjoying what they do, it makes me proud, happy, and excited to work with them every day.

3. Marketing is key 

 

You can create business, choose a name, but unless people know about it, you’re not going to sell any products.

Imagine this – you can always have the best product in the world and spend so much time crafting the packaging and yet, no one would know or hear about it. If that’s the case,  your product isn’t going anywhere.  How you invest in marketing your product is so crucial, that’s why you should never take it for granted.

Just like Branson, I too believe in the power of marketing – especially, inbound marketing. Businesses could take advantage of marketing trends and venues to be ahead of the game. Some of these trends are; social media, live-streaming and influencer marketing that are growing rapidly in this continuously evolving world we live in today.

Having the craziest ideas and right strategies are the simplest way to draw attention to your business.Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it, the fanciest way to do it, or the fastest way to do it. You want people to remember your brand. You need to execute that WOW factor into your product and brand.

4. Your team is everything! 

 

Treat your team like family.

Making your team a top priority can bring benefits for both your customers and investors. As to how Branson further explains it,

It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the brand and you’ve given them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy. Effectively, in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.

The success of your business relies on your entire team.  When you care for and treat your team like family, your team will make the effort to go that extra mile and in turn becomes more productive. Additionally, you will establish mutual trust and respect whilst ensuring that the interest of the business is looked after.

5. Diversify

 

You should never be afraid to diversify if you are in a position to do so because nothing stays ever exactly the same.

Richard Branson is the prime example of a diversified success.  With the first launching of his first business, ‘The Student Magazine’ in the 1960s, to the launching of ‘Virgin Records’ and other ventures under the Virgin brand, Branson is a proof that implementing diversification as a business strategy really does work.

Don’t put your eggs in one basket.

As for me, I’m able to diversify by venturing into complementary businesses (example: an agency that supply MCs or hosts and an academy that teaches individuals or management professionals how to be good at public speaking), as well as in e-learning and e-commerce.

As an individual, you can also diversify by investing your savings in properties or small businesses.  Diversifying is good because if you lose one thing, you don’t lose everything.

6. Attitude and perspective is everything

 

Stay positive; attitude is everything.

I think, one of the most vital steps you can take towards achieving your greatest potential in life is learning how to monitor your attitude and how it impacts yourself, what you do, and the people around you.

Attitude and perspective are like the foundation and backbone behind personal success.  There will be tough times.  Things may not work in your favor.  Business may not be progressing as expected.  Projects may not be coming to actuality. But whatever happens, stay optimistic, stay focused, and stay enthusiastic.  It’s attitude and perspective that make tough times manageable.

Also, adopt an attitude of gratitude.  When you start the gratitude practice, not only you tend to exude and share that positive energy but also you’ll see that all of a sudden things start to fall into place for you and your business.

7. Perfection is unattainable

 

There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something. When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it’, most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be laboring furiously to better their work.

Branson has the right attitude when it comes to perfection, and this point made is a truly genius one.  Many people think that once they believe they’ve perfected something, they can sit back and relax.  Whilst you’re slacking, others are working very hard and they will soon surpass you if you just lay back and let them.

So, I think it’s OK to never give anyone a 100% perfect review of their work.  I believe that no matter how brilliantly conceived something is, there is always room for improvement.

8. Be a leader, not a boss

 

Perhaps, therefore, it is odd that if there is any one phrase that is guaranteed to set me off it’s when someone says to me,

‘Okay, fine. You’re the boss!’

What irks me is that in 90 percent of such instances what that person is really saying is,

‘Okay, then, I don’t agree with you but I’ll roll over and do it because you’re telling me to. But if it doesn’t work out I’ll be the first to remind everyone that it wasn’t my idea.’

Admit it – at one point when you started your business, you’re so excited to be a “boss” and look into leading and managing people.  But, it takes more than just bossing people around to be a leader.

While a leader can be a boss, not every boss can be a leader.  Although leaders and bosses have nearly identical definitions, in effect, they are different in substance and approach.  As such, a leader motivates than terrify; a leader listens and speaks rather than command.

Each week, I sit down with my team and discuss their accomplishments and backlogs from the previous week.  I always take this opportunity to redirect their focus to their weekly goals and objectives, to help them practice self-awareness and gauge their performance on their own, and to motivate them to become more.  Knowing that I’m leading my team towards the right direction, that in itself is an achievement for me.

I hope that you’ll apply these simple yet very powerful ideas to your life and business.  Once you did, feel free to share with me the significant effects and changes that you’ve experienced.  I’d be delighted to read them!

Let’s keep things fun and keep going,

Shereen

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Shereen Mitwalli

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