What Richard Branson Can Teach You about Running a Small Business

by Michelle Salater on November 30, 2012

I am thrilled to share with you today’s guest blogger, JonJon Yeung, a tech savvy writer with a passion for business and entrepreneurship.

In this guest post JonJon discusses what small business owners can learn from entrepreneur Richard Branson.

Entrepreneur Richard Branson is undeniably one of the biggest and most successful businessmen of our time.

He has over 360 companies, is chairman of the Virgin Group and is an author, patron, knight and adventurer. He is even making forays into Space Tourism, a project that sounds more like it belongs in the pages of a futuristic science fiction novel than in real life. You’d think that such a successful guy would have an ego even bigger than his accomplishments, but he is humble and approachable. When Branson speaks at conferences he encourages businesses to challenge convention and differentiate themselves in their markets.

So what wisdom can Branson bestow on small business to help them to succeed and grow?

Size is not always an Advantage

“Small is Beautiful” said Branson and he argues that when it comes to big and small companies, size is not always a competitive advantage. In fact, he believes that small companies are able to stay fresher and more customer-focused. Sometimes when companies grow too large they lose their personality and the quality of the customer experience decreases. Small companies can maintain their original style that they established in their early years if they keep themselves to a manageable and compact size. Branson believes that it is better to spin off a second company rather than to let a company grow too big.

Brands Are Based on Customer Service

According to Richard Branson, outstanding brands are always founded on excellent customer service, delivered by great people every day. Unfortunately most people can think of many times when they have had a negative experience with a popular brand where they received terrible customer service. Some companies have started to focus more on the bottom line and have forgotten about the day to day interactions that people have with their staff, which is what the business is really made of.

When it comes right down to it, a brand is only as good as the people, services and products behind it. It is essential for a business to get this right first and then build a brand around it.

See Things from the Perspective of the Customer

Do you know what it is like to interact with your company on the ground level, from the perspective of a customer? Branson emphasises how important it is to look at things through your customer’s eyes. He said that he was inspired to create Virgin Airlines after having such terrible customer service on many commercial airlines and knowing that he could create a company which provided something better.

Often it is the managing body in the higher up positions who when making decisions regarding the direction of the company do not interact with employees or customers on a daily basis. They don’t know what the customer experience is like and therefore they often make decisions which actually make things worse for customers. To truly understand, it is vital that all members of your company need to be in touch with what your customers are going through every day when they interact with your front line staff.

Branson even randomly calls select customers to ask them about their experience on his airline.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

Branson encourages entrepreneurs not to be afraid of failure. It won’t damage your reputation as much as you might think and sometimes the fear of failure holds you back from trying something new.

A successful entrepreneur will be inspired by challenging themselves as well as also challenging the other people around them. If you are starting out on your own it can be terrifying, but jump in anyway and don’t let your fear keep you from taking a risk. Trust yourself to be able to take on the challenge and you will be absolutely amazed at what you can do.

These are just a few of the profound business lessons that you can learn from multi-billionaire and business-man extraordinaire Richard Branson. I think it’s safe to assume from his accomplishments that he practices what he preaches and it has served him well.

About The Author: 

JonJon Yeung is a freelance writer and enjoys writing on Technology, Entrepreneurship, Business and lives a Savvy lifestyle. He writes about software products for businesses (in particular Intuit products https://www.intuit.co.uk). He also provides tips for small businesses.

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