A business can be started with very little money.
A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.
A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.
A company is people… employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.
Above all, you want to create something you’re proud of. This has always been my philosophy of business. 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.
Although my spelling is still sometimes poor, I have managed to overcome the worst of my difficulties through training myself to concentrate.
And obviously, from our own personal point of view, the principal challenge is a personal challenge.
And you know, I’ve had great fun turning quite a lot of different industries on their head and making sure those industries will never be the same again, because Virgin went in and took them on.
As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.
Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.
Consider getting smaller in order to get bigger.
Detail is very important.
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.
Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you.
Find somebody else to run your business on a day-to-day basis.
For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference.
Fortunately we’re not a public company – we’re a private group of companies, and I can do what I want.
Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.
I am prepared to try anything once.
I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator.
I believe that drudgery and clock-watching are a terrible betrayal of that universal, inborn entrepreneurial spirit.
I cannot remember a moment in my life when I have not felt the love of my family. We were a family that would have killed for each other – and we still are.
I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.
I don’t think so, in that Virgin is already a global brand. Brands like Amazon have had to spend hundreds of millions of pounds you know, building their brands, whereas Virgin is already well-known around the world.
I love the freedom of movement that my phone gives me. That has definitely transformed my life.
I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It’s done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.
I think because I have great difficulty saying the word, ‘no,’ almost every day’s a different adventure.
I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn’t really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.
I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever. I certainly would have failed IQ tests. And it was one of the reasons I left school when I was 15 years old. And if I – if I’m not interested in something, I don’t grasp it.
If I was a businessman, or saw myself as a businessman, I would have never gone into the airline business.
If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.
I’m a lad of the ’60s. I started a magazine to try and end the Vietnam war, but it was a number of years before I had the profile, the financial resources and the time to do more.
I’ve had great fun turning quite a lot of different industries on their head and making sure those industries will never be the same again, because Virgin went in and took them on.’
Lightning is something which, again, we would rather avoid.
Most necessary evils are far more necessary than evil.
My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new.
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.’
My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.
My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost.
My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.
Nobody’s ever called me Sir Richard. Occasionally in America, I hear people saying Sir Richard and think there’s some Shakespearean play taking place. But nowhere else anyway.
One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.
Protect against the worst eventualities. Make sure you know what they are.
Records are made to be broken. It is in man’s nature to continue to strive to do just that.
Ridiculous yachts, private planes, and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa – and it’s about getting a balance.
Right now I’m just delighted to be alive and to have had a nice long bath.
So I’ve seen life as one long learning process. And if I see – you know, if I fly on somebody else’s airline and find the experience is not a pleasant one, which it wasn’t in – 21 years ago, then I’d think, well, you know, maybe I can create the kind of airline that I’d like to fly on.
Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?
The balloons only have one life and the only way of finding out whether they work is to attempt to fly around the world.
The funny thing is people won’t let me pay for things. I’ll be in a restaurant and the manager will say, ‘Oh no, it’s on the house.’
The jet stream is a very strong force and pushing a balloon into it is like pushing up against a brick wall, but once we got into it, we found that, remarkably, the balloon went whatever speed the wind went.
The music industry is a strange combination of having real and intangible assets: pop bands are brand names in themselves, and at a given stage in their careers their name alone can practically gaurantee hit records.
The time to go into a new business is when it’s badly run by others.
There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.
To be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running, and if you have a good team around you and more than a fair share of luck, you might make something happen. But you certainly can’t guarantee it just by following someone else’s formula.
To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.
Unless you dream, you’re not going to achieve anything.
We believe that within five years, 96% of British consumers will have access to the Internet, whether it be through a personal computer, a set-top box or a mobile phone.
We, we – as I say, we go in and shake up other industries and I think, you know, we do it differently and I think that industries are not quite the same as a result of Virgin attacking the market.
We’d love to be involved with the creation of something very special, something quite large and something quite exciting.
Well, I think that there’s a very thin dividing line between success and failure. And I think if you start a business without financial backing, you’re likely to go the wrong side of that dividing line.
Well, the odds must be against anybody being able to fly around the world in a balloon on the first attempt. All of us who are attempting to go around the world in balloons are effectively flying in experimental craft because these craft cannot be tested.
Well, we know that people in Australia love the idea of both Impulse and Virgin Blue getting up and adding a bit of competition, and it’s fun to be able to deliver it.
We’re introducing separate rooms with double beds in all of our planes so people can actually go with their partner and have a proper night’s sleep.
We’ve always had a pretty competitive and pretty ferocious battle with British Airways… It’s lasted now about 14 years, and we’re very pleased to have survived it.
What does the name Virgin mean? We are a company that likes to take on the giants. In too many businesses, these giants have had things their own way. We are going to have fun competing with them.
With the casino and the beds, our passengers will have at least two ways to get lucky on one of our flights.
You can be a David vs. a Goliath, if you get it right.
You can create a business, choose a name, but unless people know about it you’re not going to sell any products.
You can get too close with a doctor, or banker, and not realize you should actually snoop around.
You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business.
You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.
You shouldn’t blindly accept a leader’s advice. You’ve got to question leaders on occasion.