Sir Richard Branson is arguably one of the most successful businessmen in the world.
Branson’s net worth is 5.6 billion US dollars. Not bad for a kid with dyslexia who dropped out of school at 16 to start a magazine.
One of his teachers famously said he’d either end up in prison or change the world and become a multi-millionaire. His first business was a commercial failure but he’s learned a lot on his journey.
Let’s take a look at his top tips for running a successful business, so we can steal a few ideas.
1. Get Down to Detail
Branson is very big on detail – he believes in getting the details in business right. He takes a notebook everywhere, particularly when he has contact with his businesses.
“I often compare creating a business to creating a painting. You’ve got a blank canvas, you’re filling in that canvas and you’re trying to get every single little detail right.” ~ Sir Richard Branson
As I often say, it’s the little things that make a big difference.
2. Find Your Sense of Humour
Humour is very important when you’re building a business. Don’t take yourself, or your situation too seriously. Try to find the lighter side and have a sense of humour.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over ” ~ Sir Richard Branson
Along with not taking yourself too seriously, Branson says you should smile and not take failure too seriously, either.
3. Have a Conversation
Instead of PowerPoint presentations, or emails or text messages, Branson believes in having conversations with people. He prefers to have eye contact.
The next time you consider sending an email or a text message, ask yourself if a conversation would be more effective.
If you can’t chat face to face, a phone call is the next best thing. Your voice conveys your thoughts and meanings more effectively than the written word.
4. Always Ask Yourself
As a business owner, Branson says you should always ask yourself, “Is this how I would want to be treated if I were the customer?”
It’s critical that you can stand back and view your business from the customer perspective. I often get my coaching clients to map the touch points in their practice.
Mapping out all the interactions that someone could have with your business, from viewing your website to calling for an appointment, can be very telling.
5. Learn to Delegate
Often business owners fall into the trap of thinking they have to do everything themselves. Either they think that others won’t do it as well as they could, or they don’t have time to train their team.
But here’s the thing that no one will tell you. Your team are capable of more than you believe.
You can’t do it all yourself. Not if you want to avoid burnout.
So learn the art of delegation. You’ll get more done in less time, and with less stress.
6. Know The Order
Branson is clear on this. He says staff come first, customers second and shareholders third.
You’re a smart business owner, and you know he’s right. Without a great team, you can’t take good care of your customers.
And if your team aren’t happy, neither are your customers. So take care of your team first, and you’ll be taking care of your patients too.
7. Create Value
Branson says that he will only start a business if it will improve people’s lives. He started Virgin Atlantic because he was unhappy with the service he received on British Airways.
He was passionate about creating a customer-centric airline, and he worked hard to turn it into a viable business.
8. Dream Big
Branson believes in dreaming big – really big. He likes to set himself seemingly impossible challenges (space travel anyone?)
He says that setting himself huge challenges requires him to catch up with them.
I encourage my coaching clients to dream big, and often they exceed the challenges they set themselves. While we can’t all start airlines or invest in space travel, the strategy works.
9. Stay on Target
Branson believes in staying on target. He says that being clear and concise in explaining your idea helps to remain focused.
10. Get Away From Work
As a business owner, it’s all too easy to experience overwork and burnout. But you can’t afford for that to happen.
You are the most important asset in your business. Without out you, there is no business.
So make it a priority to get away from work. It improves your performance, maintains your relationships and gives you a fresh perspective on your business challenges.
Steal from Richard Branson
I don’t mean break into his island hideaway, I mean steal his ideas and strategies. They worked for him and they can work for you too.
Make sure you dream big, take care of your staff, and create value for your customers.
Always treat people with respect, and have eye-to-eye conversations with people.
Look after yourself by getting away from work, keeping your sense of humour and delegating effectively.
Stay on track, keep moving forward, and you’ll realise your dreams. I believe in you – and you should too.