Few entrepreneurs have enjoyed the overwhelming success of Richard Branson, making the opportunity to learn from his ideas, thoughts and experiences incredibly valuable!
Whatever line of work we are engaged in, whether it’s running a law practice, a title insurance firm or an ice cream stand, there are certain fundamental business principles that should be driving and guiding us all.
That said, given the career of Richard Branson that has been highlighted by both overwhelming success and by the diversity of his businesses, his thoughts are at the very least worth listening to.
These are some tips concerning business in general from the serial entrepreneur.
1) Guidelines for business 101!
Regardless of any changes in the way that business today is conducted sparked in large part by quickly and ever changing technological advances, there are five fundamental guidelines that Branson adheres to:
1. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. You must love what you do.
2. Be innovative: Create something different that will stand out.
3. Your employees are your best asset. Happy employees make for happy customers.
4. Lead by listening: Get feedback from your staff and customers on a regular basis.
5. Be visible: Market the company and its offers by putting yourself or a senior person in front of the cameras. (Source)
2) Importance of networking early and often!
‘…To get started, attend industry events and meet key players; join regional business associations and start learning about local market conditions. Also remember that you can meet potential mentors at schools, clubs and business groups. Someday, when you get stuck or when something goes wrong, these contacts will be the people you’ll turn to for help. (Finding investors is a step that follows: People buy from people, so if you’re limited in terms of who you can access, talk to and sell to, well, you probably won’t get very far.)…’ Read the entire article here.
3) Tips for growing a small business!
First, know your mission. At Virgin this was often about shaking up the established markets and providing something of great value and service. In Innocent’s case it was about creating great juices to help people lead healthier lives – and doing this in a fun way.
Second, make sure you get the basic structure right. Know what you are going to do. Many times partners can provide the back office, the infrastructure or the raw materials. By building strong relationships with such suppliers, you are free to scale the operations without heavy calls on your capital.
Third, get the right team at the top. It’s hard to get this right first time. Many small businesses fail to grow because they don’t identify team members who can no longer keep up. It’s sometimes necessary to part company with senior managers who cannot develop the businesses, painful as that may be.
Fourth, a strong purpose and a sense of ethics give the company a solid foundation. In Innocent’s case the focus was on leaving the planet a little better than they found it. This simple but effective message resonates with both staff and customers, whether they number 10 or 500 people.
Fifth, no matter how big you are, details count. Just as I remain obsessive about traveling on our planes and visiting our businesses with my notebooks to chat with staff and check the little touches that make our experience unique, Richard Reed and his partners do the same. They regularly check everything from the lids on their bottles – which ask customers to “enjoy by” and not “use by” a certain date – to the carpets in their offices, which are a distinctive Astroturf.
Finally, listen to your customers and act on what you hear. I’ve always asked our staff for their views and now I track our social media channels to see how our business and brand are doing. Innocent makes a virtue of asking their customers for their views. They use the feedback to inform growth and keep them connected. Read the entire article here.
Michael Haltman, President