Richard Branson’s Entrepreneurial Philosophies

12 03 2010

There’s no reason to not read a list like Sir Richard Branson’s “34 Rules for Maverick Entrepreneurs.” He’s a famed businessman who has created over 200 branded companies and employed approximately 50,000 people in 29 countries over the course of his lifetime, as of yet. And it all started with a loan from his aunt because banks weren’t interested in his initial venture. Now, with what’s been cleverly named as the “Virgin Model,” Richard Branson has done exceptionally well by looking at what others are doing and finding ways to do it better. He’s done so well that at 59 years old, Forbes listed him as the 212th richest billionaire in the world this year.

With a brand like Virgin, that encapsulates everything from music, to credit cards, to a major airline, it’s fitting that someone like Richard Branson would come up with some intriguingly clairvoyant business philosophies. He’s competitive, he’s flamboyant, he’s an entrepreneur. Check them out:

  1. It’s got to be a BIG idea that you, your team and your customers can “get” in seconds.
  2. Strive to create 10x – 100x in value for any price you charge. Your rewards are always proportionate to the value you provide.
  3. You must charge a premium price so you have a large margin to provide an extraordinary value & experience.
  4. Provide a ‘Reason Why’ customers should do business with you and pay you a premium.
  5. Get paid before you deliver your product or service. And when possible figure out how to create recurring revenue from transactions.
  6. You get to make the rules for your business. Don’t let industry norms dictate how you’ll work or who you’ll work with.
  7. Create your business around your life instead of settling for your life around your business.
  8. Consistently and constantly force yourself to focus on the ‘critically few’ proactive activities that produce exponential results. Don’t get caught up in minutia & bullshit.
  9. Seek to minimize start-up risk but have maximum upside potential.
  10. Get your idea out there as fast as possible even if it’s not quite ready by setting must-hit deadlines. Let the market tell you if you have a winner or not. If not – move on and fail forward fast! If it’s got potential – then you can make it better.
  11. Find partners and team members who are strong where you are weak and appreciate being paid on results.
  12. Your reputation always counts. Honor your obligations and agreements.
  13. Never, ever get paid based on hours worked.
  14. Leverage your marketing activities exponentially by using direct response methods and testing.
  15. Measure and track your marketing so you know what’s working and what’s not.
  16. Bootstrap. Having too much capital leads to incredible waste and doing things using conventional means.
  17. Your partners and employees actions are their true core – not what they tell you.
  18. Keep asking the right questions to come up with innovative solutions. “How?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “Who Else?” & “Why?” open up possibilities.
  19. You’ll never have a perfect business and you’ll never be totally “done”. Deal with it.
  20. Focus most of your time on your core strengths and less time working in areas you suck at.
  21. Make it easier for customers to buy by taking away the risk of the transaction by guaranteeing what you do in a meaningful way.
  22. Always have something else to sell (via upsell, cross-sell, follow-up offer, etc) whenever a transaction takes place. The hottest buyer in the world is one who just gave you money.
  23. Always go back to your existing customers with exceptional offers and reasons they should give you more money. It’s 5x less expensive to sell to happy customers than go find new ones.
  24. However the flip side is – fire your most annoying customers. They’ll be replaced with the right ones.
  25. The marketplace and competitors are always trying to beat you down to a commodity. Don’t let that happen.
  26. Develop and build your business’s personality that stands out. People want to buy from people.
  27. Create your own category so you can be first in the consumer’s mind.
  28. Go the opposite direction competitors are headed – you’ll stand out.
  29. Mastermind and collaborate with other smart entrepreneurs if they have futures that are even bigger than their present.
  30. Celebrate your victories. It’s too easy to simply move on to your next goal without acknowledging and appreciating the ‘win’.
  31. Make your business AND doing business with you FUN!
  32. Do the unexpected before and after anything goes wrong so customers are compelled to ‘share your story’.
  33. Get a life! Business and making money are important but your life is the sum total of your experiences. Go out and create experiences & adventures so you can come back renewed and inspired for your next big thing.
  34. Give back! Commit to taking a % of your company’s sales and make a difference. It this becomes a habit like brushing your teeth pretty soon the big checks with lots of zeros won’t be scary to write. If you think you can’t donate a percentage of your sales simply raise your price.

There’s of course several insightful nuggets of information to value in this list, and there are many obvious ones too. Regardless, this list is a great resource for finding your bearings on any given day – even one that’s wildly successful.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Bishop.

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