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18 Tips For Success From Richard Branson

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Richard Branson founded Virgin in 1970 at the age of 20, and he hasn’t looked back.
He’s the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies in eight different industries — and he did it all without a degree in business.
"Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don'ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been," he writes in his new book, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School. 
We’ve compiled some of the best tips from his book here.
 
1. Don't do it if you don't enjoy it.
Running a business takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and caffeine). But at the end of the day, you should be building something you will be proud of.
Branson says, "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."
 
2. Be visible.
“Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages,” said Laker. “You are going to have to get out there and sell yourself. Make a fool of yourself, whatever it takes. Otherwise you won’t survive”.
Branson always makes a point of traveling often and meeting as many people as he can. This, he says, is how he came by some of the best suggestions and ideas for his business.
 
3. Choose your name wisely.
The unique name and brand that Virgin employs is one of the things that has made the company a success. Branson makes sure that the name ‘Virgin’ represents added value, improved service, and a fresh, sexy approach.
Branson says that he is asked all the time about the origin of the Virgin name, back when Virgin was just starting. "One night, I was chatting with a group of sixteen-year-old girls over a few drinks about a name for the record store," he says. "A bunch of ideas were bounced around, then, as we were all new to business, someone suggested Virgin. It smacked of new and fresh and at the time the word was still slightly risqué, so, thinking it would be an attention-grabber, we went with it."
 
4. You can't run a business without taking risks.
Branson thinks of one of his favorite sayings when advising about taking business risks: “‘The brave may not live forever—but the cautious do not live at all!’”
Every business involves risks. Be prepared to get knocked down, says Branson, but success rarely comes from playing it safe. You may fail, but Branson also dares to point out that "there's no such thing as a total failure."
 
5.The first impression is everything. So is the second.
The first impression you make on customers will probably be when you acquire them. The first impression is extremely important, says Branson, but the second is equally as important.
The second time a customer usually contacts Virgin, it’s because he or she is having problems with the product or service. How you present yourself and your brand in these situations says a lot about how your brand maintains good customer relationships and handles obstacles.
 
6. Perfection is unattainable.
"There's an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something," says Branson. "When they believe they've 'nailed it', most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be labouring furiously to better their work!"
For this reason, Branson never gives anyone a 100% perfect review of their work. He believes that no matter how “brilliantly conceived” something is, there is always room for improvement.
 
7. The customer is always right, most of the time.
The customer is always right... unless they’re wrong. After all, they’re only human too. Your customers’ opinions are important, but “you should not build your customer service system on the premise that your organisation will never question the whims of your clients," says Branson.
Branson warns that many entrepreneurs think if they provide 'the-customer-is-always-right' service that it will improve their businesses. This is only sometimes true. Beware not to damage relationships with customers or staff with your customer service policies.
 
8.Explore uncharted territory.
Branson compares exploring new territory in business to exploring new territory in science or geography.
“We will find new species and better understand the make-up of the deep-level waters,” says Branson.
Business translation: There are still many things out there that haven’t been discovered, invented, achieved. Exploring little- or uncharted areas can spark new ideas and innovations.
 
9.Seek a second opinion. Seek a third.
Branson says you must learn to be a good listener in order to succeed, and that means bouncing “every idea you have off numerous people before finally saying, ‘We’ll give this one a miss,’ or ‘Let’s do it.’”
That means being thorough and deliberate before executing any decisions. In business, seeking a variety of opinions "can save you a lot of time and money," says Branson. "Don't tell people about others' suggestions until you've heard what they have to say. In the end you may decide that the best advice is to walk away—and later find out it was the very best solution."
 
10. Cut ties without burning bridges.
Business ventures with another person, be it a friend or a partner, don’t always work out. If this is the case, successful entrepreneurs know when to part ways.
But just because you decide to go in another direction doesn’t mean things have to end badly, especially with a friend, says Branson. Handle any problems quickly and head-on, and end the relationship as amicably as possible.
 
Read more at http://goo.gl/b5zRxm
 
 
 

 

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