What can Sir Richard Branson teach us about business?

“My best advice? Put yourself out of business on a daily basis” Sir Richard Branson

When Richard Branson says something I tend to listen. He’s spent almost 50 years doing things that ‘can’t be done’ and flying in the face of conventional business wisdom. He spent many years deep in debt and, if you’ve read his biography, was nearly forced out of business many times by the banks.

So what was the start of his good fortune? Believe it or not starting a record company to put out music that no-one else would touch and that was Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield.  He started his airline out of frustration of flying on other airlines and not enjoying the experience. I kind of know what he means, I started my accountancy practice many years ago out of frustration of dealing with other accountants!

Richard recommends when you’re starting a business, think ‘where am I frustrated? Where can I improve the lot of other people? What businesses are not doing it well?’ I wholeheartedly agree, if you think like this and make sure your business model is sustainable (ie profitable!) then you’re much more likely to create a successful growing business. 

So what is Richard’s secret to his longevity in business? Maintaining headspace allowing him to create and focus on the bigger picture. Take it from someone who knows what he’s talking about. Spend time out of the office, stop working 12 hour days and take more holidays. It all adds up to the space you need as a business owner to keep on improving your business.

What about the quote at the beginning of the article? Well what he means is find somebody better than yourself to do your job. If you want your business to grow beyond yourself then you need to find someone to carry out the day to day stuff so you can focus on that bigger picture and move the business into other areas. That’s the key to ‘recession proofing’ your business. It’s not the last recession we’ll see in our lifetime!

Too many of us are control freaks, clinging on to everything, micro-managing and getting bogged down in detail. Virgin would not be where it is today if Branson had not brought people on board to to take charge. This is what allowed him to expand in so many other directions! 

Take a leaf out of his book, recruit someone you can trust and let them get on with it. Delegate don’t abdicate!

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