What can a high school dropout teach you about business success? A lot.
Richard Branson, a school dropout, is the most interesting entrepreneur living on this planet. The self-made entrepreneur has a net worth of Five Billion Dollars (Source: Forbes, 2015.) At the age of sixteen, he started his first business with a Student magazine. Today, he runs more than 400 companies worldwide.
Let us understand some powerful business lessons from the founder of Virgin Group.
#1 — Connect with Your Employees
What do you expect while hiring an employee? You expect to have a dedicated and skilled person for the required post. In return, employees just want some proper attention. Make your employees feel special. Give them the solid reason to work them
Richard Branson announced one-year dad paternity leave with full pay. He wrote on his blog
“As a father and now a grandfather to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes. Being able to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones is absolutely vital, especially early.”
He also allows the staff members to take as many holidays they want. He doesn’t believe in 9-5 boring schedule also.
Remember one thing: No one is doing a favor on anyone. Treat your employees as your family. They will definitely give you the same love in return. Come out of the slave mindset and connect with your employees on a personal level. Fill your workplace with happy employees.
#2 — Allocate your time efficiently
In order to run a successful business, you must devote some quality time on your target areas. Before making any physical move, always make a practical sketch in your mind. By making a rough plan, you can track your progress in an easy manner.
In an interview, Richard Branson told that he devotes;
25 percent of my time is spent on marketing and that side and helping make sure that all of the people are running the various companies around the world
25 percent of my time is spent on new ventures and really trying to learn everything there is about the new ventures before we launch them
About 10 percent of my time is spent on firefighting and making sure that I’ve got the time to firefight if something’s going wrong somewhere.
And about 40 percent of my time is spent on social issues and building new organizations, more for the benefit of the climate or health issues or charitable issues
Ask yourself three questions:
Where are you planning to devote most of your time?
Do you want to spend time on your completed projects or on new ventures?
Do you have a backup plan for any unexpected output?
#3 — Describe yourself in 140 characters
Branson’s Twitter page describes his strong character with this tagline: “Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin”
In less than two lines only, Branson projects out his confident personality. On one side, he accepts his troublesome attitude. On the other side, he believes in realizing dreams. The title of “Dr Yes” shows his optimistic nature.
Write down your special qualities in only 140 characters. You may be asking, “What is the logic behind a short bio?” This short introduction represents your solid presence in few lines. This habit also helps you in decoding the complex problems into short and effortless framework.
#4 — Don’t look every interaction from a business angle
The 9-year-old dyslexic girl sent a thank you letter to Richard Branson for making the videos on dyslexia. Dyslexia is a disorder in which the person has difficulty in reading or interpreting the words. It doesn’t affect the general intelligence. She felt good after watching the videos.
Richard Branson took out time from his busy schedule to write a handwritten letter to the girl. He thanked her for taking out time for appreciating the videos. These small things make a big difference.
Thankfully, some things in life are more important than money. It feels great to be the reason behind somebody’s smiling face. Don’t interact with everyone from a business mindset. Sometimes, you just need a big heart to tackle the situation.
#5 — Create Creative and Unconventional Strategies to Promote your Business
Richard Branson is known for insane public stunts. He believes in spending small amount of money on marketing with a big reach. He thinks creatively for his business. He creates a buzz for his products by doing unforgettable things.
Here are some of them:
In 1996, he shaved off his beard for his wedding venture Virgin Brides. He came out in public with the wedding dress and full makeup. It was a successful media stunt.
In 1998, he introduced Virgin Cola in competition with giants (Pepsi and Coca-Cola) He drove a big tank through Times Square and blew up the Coca-Cola sign.
In 2004, he announced the launch of Virgin Galactic by attending the event in an astronaut’s suit.
If you are able to make your brand memorable, there is no use of spending lots of money on advertising. Come up with unique ideas to make a permanent patch on the audience.
#6 — Always work for customer satisfaction
Richard Branson shares a wonderful story on building a loyal customer.
“An Executive Club passenger left his leather coat in the airport lounge. He rushed to the front of the plane and asked if he could get it. “Sorry, sir, too late,” replied a member of the cabin crew. “But don’t worry. I’ll tell the ground crew and they’ll have it sent to you.”
He was convinced he’d never see his favorite coat again. Seven and a half hours later, when the flight arrived in New York, an agent met him at the door of the aircraft with his coat. They’d put it on a Concorde flight that beat his slower 747 across the Atlantic! (Of course, British Airways can no longer pull off that trick, since the Concorde is no longer in service.)
Richard focuses on turning a one-time customer into a life-long loyal relationship. He sets a benchmark for his rival companies. He is ready to go the extra mile for providing excellent support. He always believes in making a permanent impact on the users.
Your services define the growth of your business. By satisfying the customer, you create more referrals. Your one grateful gesture makes a sprinkling effect. The satisfied customer refers you by sprinkling your great services to their friends and relatives. In this manner, you generate more leads by providing valuable support.
#7 — Don’t start the business for the sake of starting of it only
An excerpt from Richard Branson’s book “Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.”
“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.”
Develop passion for your business. Aim for the long term objectives. Never compare any two businesses in terms of scope and monetary output. Every big thing looks very catchy in the beginning. If you don’t have the interest, you will waste both your money and time. Stop framing your ideas by implementing someone else’s expectations.
You are not here to prove anything to anyone. You are just here to make your dream come true. Patience and dedication are really important to build a strong foundation.
#8 — Failures are the part of a successful career
Success is not defined by a straight line. It consists of various sharp and dark turns. Richard Branson didn’t become rich overnight. Although some of his companies turned out to be great investments, some companies made him think about his future strategies.
Some of his unsuccessful ventures:
Student Magazine, Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Brides, Virgin Vie, Virgin Clothing, Virgin Cars, Virgin Wares, Virgin Megastores, Virgin Flowers, Virgin Digital, Virgin Express, Virgin Student
“My mother taught me that I should not focus on past regrets, so with regards to business I don’t. My teams and I do not allow mistakes or failures to deter us. In fact, even when something goes wrong, we continue to search for new opportunities” he was quoted as saying on the American Express Open Forum blog.
Failures make you stronger for any future problems. In starting, every successful businessman faces failure. You are not alone, buddy. You learn important things in this phase only. Failure is your best teacher. Don’t lose hope and concentrate on your dreams by rectifying all your past mistakes.