Turing outlandish ideas (Record stores where people actually want to buy music! Commercial space travel!) into great businesses is what Virgin Founder and the “original disruptor” Sir Richard Branson is all about. But being a great entrepreneur also means knowing when to stomp the brakes on an idea that’s not yet meant to flourish, he says:
You’ve had plenty of “disruptive” ideas over the years. Some, of course, haven’t panned out—Virgin Cola being one of the more notable examples. As an entrepreneur, when is the time to pull the plug on an idea that isn’t working?
Slightly sooner than I’ve done in the past. [Laughs.] It can be quite expensive to pull a struggling company up with one of your other companies and cling on too long. So once the writing is looking like it’s on the wall—it’s beginning to cost you money—it’s better to really cut your losses and use that money to start something new.
”Don’t just climb the ladder of success—a ladder that leads, after all, to higher and higher levels of stress and burnout—but chart a new path to success, remaking it in a way that includes not just the conventional metrics of money and power, but a third metric that includes well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving, so that the goal is not just to succeed but to thrive.”
“The key enterprising skills I used when first starting out are the very same ones I use today: the art of delegation, risk-taking, surrounding yourself with a great team and working on projects you really believe in. As you mentioned in your letter, I suffer from dyslexia but was able to turn this to my advantage. I delegated the areas I struggled with to people who also believed in the project. This freed up my time to focus on what I was good at – the strategy of the magazine, making contacts and developing marketing.”
Is there anyone more qualified to be the face of your company? When you think of Virgin Airlines, does Richard Branson immediately come to mind? If you are comfortable being the spokesperson for your brand, it can create a special bond between your company and your customers. The downside is if or when you want to sell your company, the brand equity is as much in you as it is in your company. Another risk is something happening to you. Your health equals the company’s health.
The average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year. For a grand total over an entire career of—are you sitting down?—37,440 hours of meetings. That’s more than 4 years of your precious time…
“In the words of Sir Richard Branson, ‘Screw it, just do it,’” says El Brown, founder of KinderJam, a company that facilitates music and movement-oriented tactile learning programs for children. “That’s what I tell every mother who wants to start a business.”
In just four years, this mompreneur has met Oprah and expanded to 11 states and eight countries. Read more on El Brown’s startup success story on OPEN Forum.
"Well, you’ve just got to fight in every area. So, if you have new competition, you have to fight. You’ve got to make profits. Whatever tough decisions are needed, you’ve just got to get out there and make them." - Richard Branson on How to Overcome Growing Pains
Read more at OPEN Forum for our exclusive Q&A with Richard Branson at Virgin America’s latest launch at Newark Liberty International Airport.
LinkedIn Now Has 200 Million Users (That’s Bigger than the Population of Brazil)
According to Business Insider, Last week, LinkedIn hit a massive milestone, announcing it has over 200 million users — with Richard Branson being the most followed person on the professional social network.