Monday, April 21, 2008

Richard Branson - English Entrepreneur, Virgin Brand

"Above all, you want to create something you are proud of.... That has always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing." - Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English entrepreneur, best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Branson's first successful business venture was at age 15, when he published a magazine called Student. He then set up a record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores and rebranded as zavvi in late 2007. With his flamboyant and competitive style, Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s - as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Richard Branson is the 236th richest person according to Forbes' 2008 list of billionaires as he has an estimated net worth of approximately $7.9 billion USD.


Create Something Ground-Breaking. Assemble Good Teams:
"To be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running, and if you have a good team around you and more than a fair share of luck, you might make something happen. But you certainly can't guarantee it just by following someone else's formula."

Have Integrity:
"All you have in life is your reputation: you may be very rich, but if you lose your good name, then you'll never be happy. The thought will always lurk at the back of your mind that people don't trust you. I had never really focused on what a good name meant before, but that night in prison made me understand."

Richard Branson's 10 Secrets to Success:
1. Challenge the big ones.
2. Keep it casual.
3. Haggle: everything is negotiable.
4. Have fun working.
5. Do the right things for the brand.
6. Smile for the cameras!
7. Don't lead "sheep" - herd "cats".
8. Move like a bullet.
9. Size does matter.
10. Be a common, regular person

Richard Branson Success Story
Sir Richard's first successful business was at age 16, when he dropped out of secondary school and moved to London to set up a magazine called Student. His next business, a record mail-order company, led to his big break: a chain of record stores called Virgin Megastores, now with over 100 stores worldwide.

Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s when he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways. Other brands that have followed since include Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Finance, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cinema and over a hundred others.

Don't Let Failures Get You Down:
Not all of Sir Richard’s ventures have been a success: Virgin Trains damaged the company’s reputation, as they inherited many of the problems left over from British Rail. He also had to sell Virgin Records in 1992 to keep his airline alive: a move he regretted, resulting in the launch of V2 Records a few years later.

Other interesting facts about Sir Richard:

- Virgin Galactic plans to make flights to outer space available to the public with tickets priced at US$200,000.
- His company is called Virgin, because Sir Richard and the other co-founders were all “virgins to business”
- He owns Necker Island, a 74-acre island in the British Virgin Islands.
- He has been involved in a number of world record-breaking attempts for oceans crossings by both boat and hot air balloon.
- He had a reality TV show called The Rebel Billionaire
- The Simpson's have based a character on Sir Richard
- He was knighted in 1999 for "services to entrepreneurship"
- Sir Richard appears at No. 85 on the 2002 BBC list of "100 Greatest Britons"
- Sir Richard was ranked in 2007's Time Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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