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. Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone Can Be a Celebrity

25 02 2010

I happened upon this “Ten Small Business Trends and Opportunities” list and smiled at number four: “Everyone can be a Celebrity.” There’s always a lot to discuss with regard to marketing and social media, but I like this perspective of thinking of yourself as a celebrity. Your personal brand has a lot to do with how you define your business and its success, why not promote it?

Afterall, your brand distinguishes your competitive advantage. It’s also the first impression you have with potential customers and the source of attachment you create with your current ones. More and more these days, transparency is key as search engines start to blend with social networks and status updates are made visible and accessible just about everywhere on the web. Your opinions and thoughts are what people want to hear, not just previous projects that get outdated really fast. For a jump start, check out these personal branding trends for 2010.

It’s still early in the new year and there are lots of opportunities to focus and refocus your marketing efforts. With a deeper understanding of your brand, you’ll likely have a more aligned view of where your business will stand out, and even better – succeed.

Photo courtesy of Elaine Fogel.

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week.

16 11 2009

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week! (November 16-22, 2009)

Throughout this week, participating countries across six continents are coming together to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination, and creativity. In these seven days, the goal is to inspire, connect, mentor, and engage young people (under the age of 30) to generate new ideas and seek out better ways of doing things.

During what has been stated as “the world’s most innovative week,” entrepreneurship will be introduced to millions of young people and innovation will be promoted as a vehicle that can take them anywhere. The vision to inspire innovation in youth began with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. There are no geographic or socioeconomic boundaries to Global Entrepreneurship Week, and anyone can participate.

In this Business Week article, Jonathan Ortmans, the President of the Public Forum Institute and head of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, outline why it pays to encourage entrepreneurship among young people around the globe. As they have stated, “[g]iven the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a career path, proper guidance, access to credit, and a cultural climate that makes risk far less intimidating and failure far less damaging, young people can unleash their potential and turn the marketplace into a generator of economic and social value.”

Check out the Global Entrepreneurship Week blog, get inspired, and become involved by registering your activity. To find out what activities are going on in your area, click here. Use this initiative to tap into the creative genius of our youth, mentor them, and encourage them to consider entrepreneurship as a career.

Photo courtesy of the Ewing and Marion Kauffman Foundation.

National Business Women’s Week.

19 10 2009


This week marks National Business Women’s Week (October 19 – 23), and this is truly something to celebrate. I recently wrote about the influence of women business owners in my Small Business TV post, and this week grants yet another opportunity to give credit where credit is due. According to the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation,

“National Business Women’s Week provides an opportunity to call attention to women entrepreneurs, facilitate discussions on the needs of working women, share information about successful workplace policies, and raise awareness of the resources available for working women in their communities.”

Shockingly,  it was still legal to require a woman to have a male co-signer before receiving a business loan twenty years ago. That changed with the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act in 1988. This Act not only made the requirement of a male signature illegal, it also created the National Women’s Business Council, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and the network of Women’s Business Centers around the country. (Find your local SBA Women’s Business Center here.)

To further promote why we honor women business owners this week, take note of these facts:

Given this information, it’s easy to recognize the influence of women-owned businesses in our economy. And it’s well known that recessions breed entrepreneurship, which supports economic recovery. So as the number of jobs held by women v. men tips in favor of women, the definition of work and family may finally become balanced. Hooray for women starting, sustaining, and working in women-owned businesses.

Photo courtesy of Jdong’s Flickr.

The value of an apology.

30 09 2009


The apology. At least for me, I always know in my gut when it must be said – but why is it so hard?

It’s a given that people make mistakes, nobody’s perfect. Sometimes things happen that shouldn’t. And in business, at some point, something is likely to go wrong in the face of a customer. But while most business strategies focus on avoiding these mistakes, a successful business should also consider a strategy for turning a negative into a positive. A sincere and meaningful apology in a business setting can be a powerful tool to build stronger relationships. A tool that can also be used to improve any unfounded missteps in business operations and to help build a powerful workplace business culture.

“Experts say that companies willing to admit mistakes may uncover and fix problems that otherwise might have continued to fester, and avoid the stress and lost productivity that come when workers focus on covering up mistakes and misdeeds rather than achieving business objectives.”

New research shows that a business is likely to get more customer satisfaction by simply apologizing, versus attempting to make financial compensation. It has also been found that people are more than twice as likely to forgive a company that says “sorry” than one that instead offers them cash. Thus, the simple act of apologizing actually hits your bottom line. And it has been noted that apologies do influence customer behavior (triggering an instinct to forgive) – relative to the offering of cash.

I came across Fast Company’s “30 Second MBA” site and noticed their week long discussion entitled, “What is the business case for generosity?” Each person speaking about generosity a part of a business brings up great points. From instilling collaboration, to balancing your missionary v. mercenary positions, to creating the basis by which you do business, each 30 second video highlights the influence of “being human.”

Being human is hard to systematize. But isn’t it nice to recognize that humans stand behind the outward facade of a business? Whether you determine generosity to be an investment or an apology to be a tool to build relationships, either way your business will gain a personality of its own – one that customers can identify with and create loyalties toward.

Photo courtesy of The Negotiation Law Blog.