Four Things Richard Branson Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

I have always been interested in the lives of other entrepreneurs.  If you look at my search history, you'll likely find books, podcast, and the names of some of the world's most successful men and women. I'm fascinated with what sets these individuals apart from the rest of general world. What drives them? How do they handle stress? In my search for answers, I've found myself increasingly intrigued with Richard Branson. He is an anomaly in the corporate world and since day one, he has marched to the beat of his own drum. 

Recently, I had the privilege of hearing Richard Branson speak at a private gathering of entrepreneurs in Chicago. He shared his secrets to success and what it takes to set yourself apart in a world full of entrepreneurs. Below I have broken his advice down into what I believe are the four most important points that he addressed.

 

Hire Smarter Than Yourself

Entrepreneurs are a rare breed, but even they get overwhelmed with the workload. Branson suggests when you get to this point, hire. However, don't just hire anybody. Hire someone who can handle the day-to-day operations, giving you the freedom to focus on your strengths and moving your company forward. Don't micromanage. Let them do their job. Let them learn, fail, and create value.  Isn't that why you hired them?

Work Life Balance: Family First

Richard is all about the work-life balance. For him, it's not a new concept or fad, it's a way of life. If you don't believe me, check out his office. However, he admits that none of this would be possible without the love of his wife and family. He feels that mental and physical health seem to follow when priorities are put in their right order. This isn't your typical narrative from successful entrepreneurs.  Many business-minded individuals are willing to sacrifice their personal life to achieve what they believe is a successful career. Maybe it's time we reevaluate success? 

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Praise Over Criticism

Words are powerful. In his talk, Branson focused on the importance of building a culture and company around victories rather than focusing on what is going wrong. He discussed how praise and encouragement allow his employees to blossom, becoming better versions of themselves.  

In contrast, he believes being over critical will lead to talented individuals shriveling up or burning out. Many of us are in a position of management and we have an opportunity to follow in Branson's footsteps by  "Lavishing praise upon [our employees] and looking for the best in them."

Work To Make A Difference, Not Money

Richard Branson has made an impact on the world by doing good. It is his mission in life to leave the world better place than it was when he arrived. While many people of his status seek after the mighty dollar, Branson continuously seeks out ways to use his status and resources to make a difference in the lives of those without.  

Richard has a philosophy that if every business adopted one world problem,  we would be a lot closer to ending some of today's tragedies. It's beautiful to imagine a world where profitable businesses take it upon themselves to put an end to the suffering that millions face every day.  

Richard Branson's take on business is extraordinary.  His love of life, business acumen, and philanthropic nature are a rare combination in today's world.  For me,  it's definitely something to aspire to.