There are three ways you are just like Richard Branson.
In the first place you are a representative. A beard or long flowing hair are not requirements to be a public face. You reflect your industry, your business, and the beliefs you support every day.
The choices you make are a reflection of everything you do. When you run a small business you become part of its identity.
Secondly, you’ve tried something new. Trying something new begins in childhood. It’s how we learn what we like. When we discover the passions that shape our careers. It’s where we find the inspiration to dream our dreams.
Finally, you’ve suffered a loss. We all lose things whether its possessions or direction. How you respond to a loss defines you. It can encourage you to try again. Likewise, it can also show you a new opportunity you never considered.
The name Richard Branson conjures an image of success. In the beginning it was signing young Madonna to her first record deal. Now it is launching Virgin Voyages in a beige suit. Branson always appears smiling, tan, and full of energy. He looks great because he embraces his identity.
To this day when I hear the name Virgin I picture the name Richard Branson. When I hear the name Richard Branson I think of the Virgin brand that has represented groundbreaking musicians, innovative airlines, and the first forays into public space travel.
Every business move that Branson makes reveals the power behind the brand he has nurtured for decades. Your image can be your face or a logo, but the brand you build will always be defined by you.
“I believe in benevolent dictatorship, provided I am the dictator.”— Richard Branson
Branson skyrocketed to fame when he launched Virgin Records in the early 1970s. But his first success came when he dropped out of school at 16 and started the magazine Student in 1966. A mail-order record company named Virgin followed. Profits helped fund the magazine and open a record shop in London.
The Virgin Records production team recorded Mike Oldfield’s single “Tubular Bells” in 1973. Branson soon signed legendary bands like the Sex Pistols, Culture Club, the Rolling Stones, and Genesis. Eventually, Virgin Music became one of the top six record companies in the world.
Branson’s ventures have included the travel company Voyager Group, the Virgin Atlantic airline, and flagship Virgin Megastores. Virgin Group eventually reached 35 countries and included a train company, a luxury game preserve, mobile phone company, and space tourism.
Branson is also known for his sporting achievements. He became the first to cross The Atlantic by hot-air balloon in 1987 before vanquishing the Pacific in 1991.
Starting your business meant taking a risk. Running your business means trying new things. It doesn’t require monumental upheaval. Changing promotions, procedures, and strategies can open new doors. Even when a business is successful, entrepreneurs can benefit from pursuing the next challenge.
However, Branson’s unconventional strategies did not always lead to success. By 1992, Virgin struggled to stay afloat. The company was sold later that year to Thorn EMI for $1 billion. Branson was crushed by the loss, reportedly crying after the contract was signed.
He founded the station Virgin Radio in 1993. Then in 1996 he started a second record company, V2, which signed artists such as Powder Finger and Tom Jones. Branson’s return to music was complete.
Branson could have stayed defeated after the sale of Virgin. His decision to return to music paved the way to bigger adventures. His willingness to try again following a painful loss cemented his return to the spotlight.
Recently Branson’s space-tourism brand partnered with Scaled Composites to form The Spaceship Company. In April 2013, the suborbital spaceplane project launched SpaceShipTwo and more than 500 people had reserved tickets to ride on a Virgin Galactic spaceship.
Additionally, Branson founded Virgin Hotels in 2010 and the Virgin Voyages cruise line in 2015. Three years later, Virgin took ownership of the Hard Rock Hotel.
Your business may not always sustain a positive trajectory. Sudden changes to an industry can take down any company. Even the decision to sell your business does not guarantee that your company is finished.
When you are faced with adversity it can be hard to make decisions based on logic. Likewise, relying on emotion can create unnecessary risks. Taking the time to step back and recover from a loss can lend a new perspective.
Branson is married to Joan Templeman and they have two children: Holly and Sam. They have weathered success, failure, and even Hurricane Irma together.
Seth Singleton believes in a common thread that connect us all. In the end, everyone has a story to tell.
He is the author of This is a Language of Fist.
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