Richard Branson is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. He started his empire by creating and running Student magazine and now he has several billion-dollar companies. He is one of my favorite entrepreneurs to follow because he has proven time and time again that he knows what it takes to create a successful business.
In his book, Like A Virgin, he covers so many topics that go into starting a lasting business and making a footprint in the industry.
1. Customer Service
Branson expresses many times throughout the book how important customer service is for any business. Customer satisfaction is what brings them back and gets them talking about you to other people. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertisement so you’re going to want people to have tons of positive things to say about you and your company.
Great customer service starts from the very top of the chain of command in every business and works its way down. Meaning, you have to treat your people well in order for them to want to represent your company properly.
One of the examples Branson uses to illustrate this idea is by introducing yourself by just your name, no matter what position you hold in the company. There’s no need to show superiority in an introduction. Instead of “Hi, I’m Kyle Humiston, CEO,” it should simply be “Hi, I’m Kyle Humiston.”
2. To Be CEO, or Not to Be CEO
Starting a company is one thing. Running a company is something totally different. Not everyone can do both. Branson writes in the book “recognizing your own weaknesses is essential to your companies future.” What he means is you need to know whether or not you are fit for the job as CEO.
How are you at managing people? If you’re unsure then you can use your launch period of the business to see how you operate as a manager/CEO. You can then ask your advisors for feedback on your managerial skills and decide whether or not you need to hire someone else to run the business.
3. Entrepreneurs to the Rescue
The middle-class is disappearing and income inequality is on the rise. Jobs are being outsourced and automated. This means entrepreneurs are needed now more than ever. Not only for job creation but also for their giving capabilities. Branson proclaims that his Virgin brand has positively impacted more than 35,000 young people living in hunger.
When you start a company, you should find it within yourself to see how you can give back to the world. Are you able to reduce your carbon emissions? Can you offer jobs to homeless people? Are you able to donate to a charity that supports a cause you believe in? It’s important to have a vision of making the world a little bit better because of you and/or your company.
Chasing the dollar will only get you so far, the real satisfaction comes from knowing that other people are living better lives because of something you did.
4. Final Thoughts
Anybody looking to start a business or get into the world of entrepreneurship in any way would get great value from this book.
Branson also writes about the power of green energy, how to pitch your business to VC’s (venture capitalists,) how to find a good mentor, and a handful of other topics.