Sunday, May 15, 2011

Richard Branson and his magical wand

Experts believe an innovator is someone who pushes the boundaries of comfort and does things differently. Succinctly put, it’s that someone who has a dream and the passion to translate ideas to execution.

An iconic example of this someone described above is Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, popularly known as Richard Branson. Best known for his company, Virgin Group, this British industrialist launched his first venture at the age of 16 when he published a magazine in the name of Student. It’s interesting to note the reason how the business was started – Branson found the school rules and regulations too demanding and wanted to capitalize on the energy of student activism. While the idea itself was not revolutionary, Branson and his friends decided to give it an edge by tying up with lots of schools and selling advertising space to corporate.

This was just the beginning of a chain of businesses that were to follow – an audio record mail-order business in 1970 and then a chain of record stores (1972) in the name of Virgin Records that later were rebranded to Virgin Megastores. As many believe, Branson hit to fame in the 1980s when he was ramping up the Virgin brand and set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label.

What stands out most about Richard Branson is his acumen to capitalize opportunities and achieve despite all odds – he’s known to suffer with dyslexia and had a poor academic performance as a student. Branson is also known to do things differently and a classic example of this how he operates Virgin Airlines – not taking the typical low-cost route, the group has acted innovate by selling value-added services onboard.

Many other reasons can be attributed to the mighty success achieved by Richard Branson. While he’s famous for his unusual corporate ways and adding ‘personal touch’ to all of the company’s employees, there are multiple instances that validate Branson’s tireless efforts to empower people and their ideas and steer them towards success. He truly works on the fundamental of empowering his employees to ultimately empower the Virgin brand.

To quantify his success, it’s apt to quote here the fact that Branson was adjudged as the 212th richest person in the world according to Forbes' 2009 (Updated 03.10.10) list of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of approximately £2.97 billion (US$4.0billion).

With multiple honours and accolades under his belt, Richard Branson is acclaimed for his relentless passion and laser-sharp focus on business and has often stated his dream to make things happen as the real driver of his success. In his own words:

"Sometimes I do wake up in the mornings and feel like I've just had the most incredible dream. I've just dreamt my life."

- Richard Branson

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