Richard Branson is the British business magnate and investor. He is the founder of Virgin Group and has owned more than 400 companies . He is the only entrepreneur to build eight billion dollar companies in eight different industries and his net worth is almost $5 billion in 2020.
Known for his daredevil personality, Richard Branson’s business venture included Virgin Megastores, Virgin Mobiles, Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic; the Virgin Spaceflight Company.
WarningA serial entrepreneur, Richard Branson has led an extraordinary life full of ups and down . He has embraced his moments of success and struggle, and with his indefatigable spirit, he has turned his failures into stepping stones for success.
Nobody knows the exact number of businesses managed by Virgin Group.
Some say that even Richard Branson is not able to answer how many business ideas are implemented under the wing of his multi-brand. However, the charm of its business is not in the quantities of the companies but in the quality of services provided .
ImportantRichard Branson always had the entrepreneurial streak in him and a knack for making money. He could eye an opportunity where there was none and make it into a successful business.
In the month March 2000, Richard Branson was honored with the knighthood title by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for his great services to entrepreneurship.
ImportantFor his work in retail, music, and transport, his taste for adventure, sporting competition like crossing an ocean in hot air balloon, and for his humanitarian work, he became one of the most influential and famous people in British culture .
Being successful is the desire of all of us residing over this lovely planet.
To me, Richard Branson is nothing short of inspirational . So what makes Sir Richard Branson so special, and how did he achieve so much success in a single lifetime? What makes Richard Branson a good leader?
What I am about to share with you will undoubtedly inspire you and guide your actions toward success. Here is the success story of the leader and entrepreneur Richard Branson, here called “The White Knight”.
The Other Side of The Coin
Richard Branson was born on 18 July 1950 at Blackheath, London. He was born to Edward James Branson and Eve Branson. His Grandfather, Sir George Arthur Branson was the Judge of the High Court of Justice.
ImportantThe family did not have a steady income at the time as his father Edward had failed his bar exams and did not have a qualification to work. They never had a TV set nor listened to the radio , but he recalled his childhood fun and happy.
In his early childhood, Richard Branson met Nik Powell, who became his best friend for life. Their friendship was inseparable, and it had elements of competition as they enjoyed making challenges for each other.
Richard Branson was not interested in studies from the beginning.
ImportantHe was always struggling to keep up in school. He had dyslexia – a reading disorder and had poor academic performance because of it. To contrast his poor academic performance, Richard Branson proved to be remarkably good at sports .
He became the captain of the football, rugby, and cricket teams. He won every race and unintentionally set a new record for the long jump after deciding just to give it a try.
He went from Scaitcliffe School to the Stowe School, a boarding school in Buckinghamshire, England. This socially unconventional move led him to establish Student, a youth-culture magazine for students .
He finally dropout from high school at the age of 16 years.
Richard focused on sending out hundreds of letters and placing calls to find advertisers willing to commit to Student. Student’s first issue came out in 1966 and sold $8,000 in advertising and 50,000 copies released for free.
The Student magazine became a way to give young people a voice and challenge the perceptions of youth culture. Readers were intellectually absorbed into a variety of topics including music, pop culture, the Vietnam and Biafra wars, and other various issues still unaddressed and relevant today.
The student magazine was a huge hit.
Prominent figures like Mick Jagger and John Lennon gave interviews to Student . It began expanding after the John Lennon interview, attracting the attention of big media outlets. But cash flow soon became a problem for the would-be publisher.
John Lennon agreed to provide the magazine with an original unreleased recording of a song that they wanted to distribute with the print. But three weeks after the interview, he had not yet heard from him, and there was no record anywhere in sight.
The plans for this issue put Student on the brink of bankruptcy. Richard had to live up to his promises.
ImportantIf he had stuck to his original plan, Richard Branson might have gone under. Instead, he decided to be flexible and pivoted into what would end up being a much more successful territory — music.
Oh Christmas Tree
When Richard was eleven, he decided to start his own business. He decided to try his hand at Christmas tree venture. When he was at home during the Easter holidays, he furrowed the ground, planted the 400 seeds and was looking forward to selling them on Christmas Eve. He expected the trees to have grown to six feet by the Christmas after next, and he would be able to sell them for £2 each. However, rabbits ate all the tree seedlings. He shot down many rabbits by selling them for a shilling each. However, he did not make £800 as he had initially planned!
Like a Virgin
Throughout 1969, Richard Branson used to live in a London community that was surrounded by the British music and drug scene. Richard Branson noticed one recurring detail that was a huge part of every Student gathering – music.
He thought of a way he could make records more affordable and sell cheap mail-order records through the magazine.
To do so, he needed a new name that would appeal to a broader audience, not only students. “Slipped Disc” was one of the favorites until one of the girls suggested “Virgin,” as they were all complete virgins at business . They decided to keep it.
His idea worked so well that within one year, he opened his own recording label and recording studio and named it as “Virgin Records.”
ImportantHe signed on Mike Oldfield as the first artist back in 1973. Oldfield’s song, “Tubular Bells” topped the UK charts for a staggering 247 weeks! The stunning success of the very first artist that Virgin Records signed clearly shows Branson’s knack to spot talent .
After the success of Oldfield’s song, he made every effort to grow his business and signed other famous music groups including the Sex Pistols. He brought different artists under his labels such as the Culture Club, the Rolling Stones, and Genesis and much more that helped Virgin Music to become one of the top six record companies in the world .
At the age of 23, he became a millionaire and Virgin Records was later named Virgin Megastore.
A Kind Of Nirvana
After taking a large loan from the bank, Richard Branson bought an old Manor house some five miles north of Oxford. The Manor Studio was the first residential recording studio in Britain, moving album-making out of the populous cities and placing it in the countryside. Mike Oldfield described the studio sessions and the countryside location a kind of nirvana.
Never Mind the Bollocks
Richard Branson’s interest was not limited to the music business. Creating new startups time to time based on the opportunities was a habit of Sir Branson from the starting.
There’s a very interesting story behind the start of his airline business.
While going to meet his girlfriend, his final flight to the Virgin Island was cancelled. It was the last flight of the day and he was really desperate to go there, but he can’t unless he chartered a private airplane that can take him to the Virgin Island.
HacksAn idea clicked in his mind. He picked up a small blackboard and wrote “Virgin Airlines $29” on it . He sold the tickets to the people who too wanted to go to the Virgin Island. He used that money to pay for the chartered plane and everybody reached their destination with the help of “Virgin Airlines.”
ImportantThis exposed the shortcoming of the airline Industry, he acted upon that idea to launch Virgin Atlantic Airlines in 1984 to give passengers a better flying experience . He had little experience, and his new venture almost failed before it got off the ground.
This venture might have shut down, but truly demonstrates the unstoppable spirit of strive Richard Branson has.
The Scottish Shower
It was not all roses and sunshine. In 1992, Virgin Atlantic’s financial situation was so tragic that Richard Branson was convinced to sell his Virgin Records to Thorn-EMI to keep his airline flying.
Selling Virgin Records wasn’t easy; it was mentally traumatic. There were reports of him crying after signing the contract.
ImportantBut he did not let the loss stop him from pursuing other achievements in the music business . In the same year of the sale, he opened Virgin Radio. Three years later he was able to establish V2, his second record company.
Apart from having to sell Virgin Records, Richard Branson also suffered from other business failures.
Virgin moved into new territory again in 1994 with the launch of Virgin Cola, a soda designed to compete with Coke and Pepsi . But it was too similar to other sodas to build its own identity. The company folded after a few years.
As its most popular flop, he learned that if you’re not unique, you won’t get noticed.
Virgin Digital opened its doors online in 2005. A music download site in the style of iTunes, this music platform boasted a massive library of songs. It also featured a digital music subscription service that foreshadowed later platforms like Spotify. Unfortunately, what Virgin Digital didn’t have was the iPod. The service fought a losing battle against Apple. The loss was a reminder for Richard Branson that it’s always better to forge your own trail than it is to follow in other companies footsteps.
Talking to The Stars
Richard Branson is also known for having developed a remarkable business strategy called ‘branded venture capital.’ With this strategy, he would launch a massive amount of companies with minimal investment.
The key lies in licensing the Virgin name.
ImportantRichard Branson would supply the name in exchange for controlling interest – giving his partners the majority of the stock. He would manage the business while his wealthy allies were the ones putting up most of the cash . As a result of this, Branson now owns or holds interest in numerous companies.
The Virgin empire is not about to stop expanding . The SpaceShip Company is a Virgin Galactic company that Branson established so he could continue his dream of exploring space and bringing that experience to more individuals. In his own words: “It’s Virgin territory.”
Richard Branson’s incredible journey isn’t just about creating wealth, but also about putting it to worthy causes.
ImportantBranson believes in giving back to society and has been a regular philanthropist to the educational charities working in African countries. In October 2015, he received the International Crisis Group Chairman’s Award at the United Nations Development Programme’s In Pursuit of Peace Awards Dinner.
Richard Branson’s success story proves that relentless efforts, learning from mistakes, constantly discovering oneself, and perseverance leads to grand success and progress of individuals and the society.
A true adventurer in both business and life, Richard Branson will continue pushing his limits — and we can all stand to learn a bit from his bravado.
Richard Branson is a business genius and he knows what can be his next move, he is always ready for a new business venture and idea. The exhilarating success story of Branson inspires many entrepreneurs across the world to take risks and make something out of nothing.
You might not succeed the first time or the second or the third but you will eventually. You learn more from failure than success.
ImportantEvery time you fail, you approach the next attempt wiser than the previous one. Failure is not to something to be scared of . It happens. Giving up shows more about a person than failure.
Finally and this might be the ultimate lesson which we can learn from him, successful people start before they feel ready . They don’t wait for the perfect time to arrive and guaranteed success plan.
An important lesson is no matter how absurd your idea is to other, if you believe in your idea, you should do it.
ImportantAt the starting all the people are at the same level — no money, no resources, no experience, nothing — but winners start it anyway.
So be smart and act now! Just start and make it perfect.
What is holding you back from achieving your dreams? Perhaps not as much as you think. We’d love to hear your personal experiences on how you overcome your failures, so please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.