Richard Branson: A Lover of Risk

Richard Branson (1950) is an entrepreneur known by his brand Virgin, a conglomeration of nearly 400 companies from different sectors. He is included in the list of the world's richest people by Forbes magazine and has written several books about business, like "Screw it, let's do it". He has also been awarded on different occasions both for his entrepreneurial and social labor and is known for his unique lifestyle. He has participated in different TV shows and even movies like "Superman Returns".

Richard Branson in 1975 - Image from Virgin.com




Now, let's jump into his quotes about business and entrepreneurship in general:

1. To be an entrepreneur is to love the risk, to assume that things won't go well, to know that it's very likely that you'll get ruined one or more times throughout the race.

When starting a business of any kind, it is required to have a series of qualities, but there's one that is in a step higher than the rest: the ability to assume risks. Ideas, come on, we all have ideas but some people jump into them whereas others don't. If you are scared of losing everything, if you think too much, you are extremely concerned about failure, try to do something else. Every decision implies a leap of faith, and when a person assumes risks, sometimes things go well and other times not so well. The most influential entrepreneurs in an industry or sector started many companies in the past which had to close their doors. But they didn't give up, and they started again from scratch.

2. Don't lose your precious time criticizing others. Any critic is just a poor reflection of your attitude.

This is the characteristic that better defines the "professional losers": dedicating time to criticize the lives of others. People with a winning mindset don't have time to criticize. They are focus on their objectives and their happiness. Frustrated people, on the contrary, need to talk bad about others to justify their dissatisfaction. Any person who is happy with his life doesn't need to talk bad about others.

3. You cannot be a good leader unless you like people. It's the best way to obtain the best from them.

If you are going to start any kind of business, you'll need partners, collaborators, and alliances; and all of that has to do with maintaining good relationships. Therefore, it is essential to dominating the art of treating people, and treating people demands touch, left hand, flexibility, ability to listen to others and a lot of emotional intelligence; and, especially, as Branson says, it is essential that you love people. It's impossible to lead otherwise. If you don't like people, it is better to start looking for a more attractive job according to your personality and philosophy of life.

4. The best ones always survive. When time passes, only those companies which provide the best experiences to clients survive.

Focus on doing what you have to do in the best possible way. Quality always ends up finding a place in the market. Businesses that offer high-quality services or products are the ones who better resist the market changes. The Virgin founder also claims: "Building a brand is a labor of perseverance. Your brand is as good as the products or services you are selling. A good brand is built if people have good experiences with your products. Brands are a matter of confidence". Do not do crappy stuff to make fast money. This is not sustainable in the long term.

5. Companies that take care of their clients are the ones who obtain the best results afterward. Because companies are just made up of people, and those are the ones who make a real difference when offering good experiences to the clients.

This is common sense, but in most cases, it is ignored. Products are made by people; services are offered by people. In companies, everything is a result of human action and work. Therefore, take care of people! Branson himself says: "If people are proud of your company, of your products and they feel comfortable at work, they will do everything with a smile on their faces. Taking care of people is more important as taking care of the customers because if you take care of your people, they will take care of the clients", simple as that. Is it so difficult to understand?

6. The contact with the customer is essential as they give you information about your own company, impossible to get while sitting behind a desk. Dedicate an important part of your time to experiment in your own businesses and to share opinions with customers.

Life is not in your house, in your room... Life is outside, on the streets, and you have to be very careful of never losing contact with reality, with the client, who buys our products and services. Sometimes, a simple and natural conversation with a customer can provide you with more information than any professional research or study carried out by a prestigious consulting firm. You have to eliminate prejudices and never take anything for granted. Ask for opinions. Do not think that things happen in a specific way because you think they do. Be open to new ideas, new people, new contexts.

7. Things you don't do so well, are never interesting for people, and you shouldn't be interested in them. No matter what you have achieved in life, the fields where you stand out will be a lot less than the fields where you don't. Don't let yourself be affected by your own limits. Put aside those limits and focus on what you do best.

Every person is excellent at doing something. There, is where you have to concentrate your attention. Dedicate your time to exploit your natural talents and compensate for your weaknesses. Every minute you dedicate yourself to those things you don't do well is just a waste. Don't do it. You are not unlocking your full potential. Focusing on weaknesses has a high opportunity cost. Don't let your pride be greater than your humbleness, accept your deficiencies and dedicate yourself to squeeze your true strengths.

8. Enjoy your life, you only have one.

Each day, in some way, is a "life in miniature": you are born and you die. Each day itself is like a whole life. You have to enjoy and keep a playful sense of your existence. And enjoying means knowing how to squeeze any situation in life, both in the spare time and in the business time. Intensity is a key factor in happiness. You have to be able to intensify each moment in your life. No matter where you are, and what you do, you have to try to enjoy yourself. Otherwise, look for a way to change. Love what you do, because you'll do it better and you'll also enjoy the experience.

9. Brave people cannot live forever, but coward people don't live at all.

Shakespeare said something very similar: "The coward dies a lot of times, the brave, only once". It's impossible to be happy without being brave. The coward is often subjected to lots of frustrations because they are not able to cope with their fears, they live in a permanent nostalgic state because of what they could have done and they did not. You don't have to deny the fear. The fear exists. Everyone is scared of something. The only difference, as we have just said, between the brave and the coward, is that the former one confronts it, whereas the latter one doesn't. If you want to make progress, develop yourself, grow and, especially, be happy, you have to accept your fears and develop strategies to overcome them. Up to this date, there's no other alternative.

10. I can honestly assure you that I have not started any business for the only aim of making money. If that was the only motive, then I think it is better to do nothing.

It's not worth to be an entrepreneur to be rich. All of those things that are only based on profit interests are difficult to survive in the long term. The most solid companies, the ones which transform the markets and people's lives are those which started for a motivating reason that moves them to change the world. Throughout their entire lives, all companies pass through difficult situations, and a lot of energy, driving force and compromise are needed to move forward. If money is the only objective, it is very easy for the ship to end up sinking.

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