Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School
It’s business school, the Branson way.
Whether you’re interested in starting your own business, improving your leadership skills, or simply looking for inspiration from one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, Richard Branson has the answers.
Like a Virgin brings together some of his best advice, distilling the experiences and insights that have made him one of the world’s most recognized and respected business leaders.
In his trademark thoughtful and encouraging voice, Branson shares his knowledge like a close friend. He’ll teach you how to be more innovative, how to lead by listening, how to enjoy your work, and much more.
In hindsight, Branson is thankful he never went to business school. Had he conformed to the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business, would there have been a Virgin Records? A Virgin Atlantic? So many of Branson’s achievements are due to his unyielding determination to break the rules and rewrite them himself. Here’s how he does it.
meet people who carry their old Virgin cards in their wallets! Which brings me to the next stage: bouncing back. Nearly three years after the failure of the original Virgin credit card, we returned to Sydney to relaunch a range of card products and to start the Virgin Saver online savings account. The difference this time: we have the right people and the right partner (Citibank) for achieving long-term success. I suppose the secret to bouncing back is not only to be unafraid of failures but to
response to the customer was brief: ‘Dear Mrs X, We will miss you. Love, Herb’. No one is sure whether she ever flew with Southwest again, but she never sent them another nasty letter. What’s more, the customer service staff probably heard this story within hours and you can only imagine what a boost it was to their morale. The irony is that many entrepreneurs think that they are upping their company’s level of customer service by pursuing a ‘the customer is always right’ approach, when in fact
services. The lesson I have learned from this and other, even more difficult restructurings is: avoid taking on someone else’s legacy. If the people no longer have the enthusiasm and determination needed to relaunch the company, you are better off finding a new team or you may be better off starting from scratch. But what if moving on is not a viable option? There is an alternative, one of the hardest tricks in the book: restructure your company so that it’s very small, very specialised and
the companies you should work with. For every supplier out there that is aggressive, there are another five that will want to work with you – in a way that allows you and your business to be true to a more inclusive and positive partnership. I agree that a strong personality is a great asset when starting up or running a business, but ‘strong’ doesn’t have to equate to ‘aggressive’. The key skills are confidence in your ability to follow your vision, the ability to listen to others and the art
for a week to discuss these plans before Members of Parliament returned from their summer holidays and had the opportunity to analyse and challenge the approach. Thereafter, the team received a note from Blair every Sunday, which they would discuss at a meeting the next morning to agree on key actions. Communicating your objectives regularly will help you to ensure that your team has a framework for making their own decisions. It is important that all must feel welcome to discuss the group’s