Richard Charles Nicholas Branson / b. 1950 / London, UK / Businessman, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Founder of Virgin Group, Ltd.
Good brands reflect the histories of the time and the group of people that made them. They can not be copied. They can not be recycled.Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2010).
Branson on Branson
My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day. I never do anything with a feeling of, “Oh God, I’ve got to do this today.”Interview with the Guardian, September 20, 2008.
I became an entrepreneur by mistake. Ever since then I’ve gone into business, not to make money, but because I think I can do it better than it’s been done elsewhere. And, quite often, just out of personal frustration about the way it’s been done by other people.Interview with Martyn Lewis, reported in Reflections on Success (1997).
Making money never was my incentive. I just want to fight big companies.Interview with the Sunday Mirror, January 16, 2000.
If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.Interview with Peter Greenberg in “Why JetBlue will be different,” reported on MSNBC, 2001.
. . . I was born under a lucky star, and I have nothing whatsoever to regret. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.Interview with Nina Myskow, reported in Saga magazine, saga.co.uk, July, 2007.
Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life (2006).
The brave may not live forever—But the cautious do not live at all.Richard Branson, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (2012).
I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.Richard Branson, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (2012).
As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live.Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life (2006).
There have been times when I could have succumbed to some form of bribe, or could have had my way by offering one. But ever since that night in Dover prison I have never been tempted to break my vow. . . . My Parents always drummed into me that all you have life is your reputation: you may be very rich, but if you lose your good name you’ll never be happy.Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).
There’s only one thing that is an absolute certainty in business—we all make mistakes.Richard Branson blog, virgin.com, accessed March 15, 2023.
My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.Interview with the Sunday Mirror, January 16, 2000.
To be associated with industry no longer carries the stigma of profiteering, exploitation and of being uncaring as it did when I was at school.Richard Branson, “Foreword,” in Ian Marcouse, Understanding Industry (1996).
If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later!Reported by Ruth Umoh in “Billionaire Richard Branson reveals why he’s such a huge fan of always saying ‘yes,’” cnbc.com, December 18, 2017.
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.Richard Branson tweet, March 27, 2014.
Throwing yourself into a job you enjoy is one of the life’s greatest pleasures.Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2010).
Only a fool never changes his mind.Richard Branson, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (2012).
It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside.Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).
You get the idea. Every business, like a painting, operates according to its own rules. There are many ways to run a successful company. What works once may never work again. What everyone tells you never to do may just work, once. There are no rules. You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over, and it’s because you fall over that you learn to save yourself from falling over. It’s the greatest thrill in the world and it runs away screaming at the first sight of bullet points.Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2010).
In the same way that I tend to make up my mind about people within thirty seconds of meeting them, I also make up my mind about whether a business proposal excites me within about thirty seconds of looking at it. I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).
I have always believed that the only way to cope with a cash crisis is not to contract but to try to expand out of it.Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).
Clients and Employees
Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.Reported widely; for example, by Alex Bourgeois in “Clients don’t come first—employees do,” medium.com, February 20, 2018.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.Richard Branson, The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing (2014).
The talents of young people must not be stifled. Education is not just about getting the right grades in exams but it should encourage all students to develop their optimum capacity, whatever that may be. Schools and colleges should prepare young people for life.Richard Branson, “Foreword,” in Ian Marcouse, Understanding Industry (1996).
I think other companies need to stand on their own two feet, and the weak ones need to go to the wall.Interview with BBC, reported in “Branson opposes wider bail-outs,” news.bbc.co.uk, February 21, 2009.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.Richard Branson, The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing (2014).
Most “necessary evils” are far more evil than necessary.Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).
A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.Richard Branson blog, virgin.com [attribution unconfirmed].
If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.Richard Branson, Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life (2006).
We’re here to make space more accessible to all. We want to turn the next generation of dreamers into the astronauts of today and tomorrow. We’ve all us on this stage have had the most extraordinary experience, and we’d love it if a number of you can have it, too. . . . If you ever had a dream, now is the time to make it come true—and I’d like to end by saying welcome to the dawn of a new space age.Reported by Jackie Wattles, Fernando Alfonso, III, and Mike Hayes in “Richard Branson goes to space,” cnn.com, July 11, 2021.
Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I’ve done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin’s success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it’s certainly not how the they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of “discounted cash flows” and “net present values.”Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (2005).