I’ve been a fan of Richard Branson for a long time. I first heard about Branson at a young age but it wasn’t until I had started my first business that I really learned more about him.
As a young entrepreneur I was working hard on growing my company and always looking to learn from other smart people. I remember buying Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity – it was a massively inspiring book.
There was one section that was really stuck out for me. Branson describes how he was eventually forced to sell Virgin Music to allow him to grow Virgin Airlines along with hundreds of other businesses.
It was after reading this that my friend and business partner Bart and I decided to sell off one of our two companies. It ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made – and allowed us to rapidly grow our business Advisor Websites. The sale also allowed us to acquire and grow BucketList.org.
Ever since reading the biography I’ve been pretty interested in meeting Richard and, as fate would have it, I got my chance.
I’m a part of a business organization called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization). It’s an amazing organization filled with some very cool people. It was through EO that myself along with 30 other entrepreneurs had a chance to visit Richard at his home on Necker Island.
Visiting Necker was a very cool experience – the Island is a tropical paradise with some amazing history. There are too many stories to share in one blog post but some highlights that stood out were going sailing with Richard, exploring Necker Island and surrounding area, and meeting with the amazing people who were on the trip with us. Richard was a very cool guy, he was very interactive playing tennis with guests, kite boarding, and joining us for many dinners.
What were my key takeaways?
- Have fun and success will follow: Richard was constantly on the go and having fun playing tennis, kite boarding, sailing and taking time to get to know everyone on the island. But he didn’t just play the sports he was very playful. When it came to kite boarding he was happy to piggy back guests on his back. I had a chance to sail with him and had a blast tossing people into the ocean. I believe this playful attitude translates well in the work place as well. Richard wrote on article on LinkedIn which discusses this topic in more detail:
“[In Business] If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish.”Five top tips to starting a successful business
- Write down what you want to achieve in life: Visiting a place like Necker Island and being surrounded by so many inspirational people is one of the best environments to get new ideas but it’s important to write those ideas down and execute on them. There’s a study by Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the California’s Dominican University which proves that writing down goals, sharing them with friends and reviewing them frequently significantly increases your chances of achieving what you want.
- Work with amazing people and treat them like gold: I’m not the first person to say this, but doing great things requires great people. Once you’re surrounded by these individuals empower them like crazy so that they can achieve great things. Branson wrote a great article in Entrepreneur.com called People Power — The Engine of Any Business in which he states:
“Good people are crucial to business success. Finding them, managing them, inspiring them and then holding onto them are among the most important challenges a good business leader faces. How you deal with these matters often determines the long- term success and growth of your business.”