To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.
Big Shots, Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand Builder not only reveals the secrets of Bransons’ remarkable success, but also draws out the universal lessons and identifies strategies that can be applied to any business or career
1. Pick on someone bigger than you
Branson is seen as a buccaneer rather than crusader with a lack of respect for figure or authority combined with a sense of fun.
2. Do the hippy, hippy shake
Branson is not materialistic and persuades others that money is not the most important thing. His informal dress sense works to his advantage. Branson is a great believer in people power.
The Virgin philosophy is work hard, play hard.
3. Haggle: Everything is negotiable
Branson’s negotiating skills are accentuated by his charm, which disarms his competitors. No, never, impossible are not words in the Branson business dictionary. And when it comes to set up costs, most canny entrepreneurs seek to cover the downside risk. Branson wants to cover the upside too.
4. Make work fun
It pays to play. Branson wants his employees to feel that work at Virgin is not drudgery. He gives his talented employees the freedom to be creative, an approach, which has yielded dazzling results.
5. Do right by your brand
Branson has carried an infinite elasticity quite far, launching numerous products almost everyday. He has also broadened Virgin’s market from a younger to an older generation especially with his pensions venture.
6. Smile for the cameras
Branson has demonstrated a genius for turning his own public image and his often bizarre exploits into instant advertising for Virgin, a gift that no other prominent businessman has ever accomplished or dared to do.
7. Don’t lead sheep, herd cats
Branson understands that leadership is an art. He prefers to inspire people to perform their best for him rather than dictate to them. But his style of leadership involves managing the companies by allowing his staff to get on with their work. Managers enjoy a high degree of autonomy and do not waste time filling endless reports to management, of which there are only twenty-five including Branson himself.
8. Move faster than a speeding bullet
One of Branson’s greatest feats is eliminating the lethargy and slowness that hamper large corporations. Relying on his instinct as well as analysis, Branson moves with lightening speed to seize business opportunities before anyone else has even thought about them.
Branson’s speed is related to his instinct for the right timing.
9. Size does matter
Branson does not create his empire by gobbling up smaller empires but by building his own. He spurns the idea of large corporate headquarters.
10. Never lose the common touch
Branson’s famous approachability helps him see things from the consumer’s point of view. He is able to talk to anybody. He has been known to introduce himself to passengers flying Virgin and, with notepad and pen in hand, ask them what they think of the airline’s services.