Richard Branson’s Top 12 Tips for Entrepreneurs:
This week, Richard is selling Virgin America to Alaska Airlines in a $2 billion deal – less than 10 years after he launched the airline. Even after selling it, he will still keep getting income by licensing the Virgin brand to the company.
This is yet another billion dollar deal that Richard’s Virgin Group has achieved while he spends eight months of the year on his Necker Island, where I’ve spent a few weeks with him over the last few years (here dressed as Pirates on his super-yacht, the Necker Belle).
What does it take to think more like Richard? Here’s my list of his Top 12 Tips that I’ve used – and recommend you use – to be a smarter entrepreneur:
Tip #1 – Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.
Tip #2 – Three steps to success: Hire great talent, give them the tools to succeed, and get out of the way.
Tip #3 – Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.
Tip #4 – It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside. The brave may not live forever – But the cautious do not live at all.
Tip #5 – Have courage. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Tip #6 – I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It’s done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.
Tip #7 – You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.
Tip #8 – There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you. As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Tip #9 – Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I’ve done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin’s success.
Tip #10 – If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!
Tip #11 – I have always believed that the only way to cope with a cash crisis is not to contract but to try to expand out of it.
Tip #12 – For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference.
Which one or more of these could you start practicing today?
And to end, I’ll add my own tip to this list – take the time each year to connect with the role models who inspire you and, in the words of Richard, “Listen. It makes you sound smarter.”
For more on how Richard Branson thinks – http://bit.ly/my-time-on-necker