Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 30th 2014 Contents OCTOBER 2014 • WEEK FIVE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG19
I m often asked how I got to where I
am, and how the Virgin brand achieved
all that it has. While there are no short-
cuts to success, certain attitudes and
actions can help. Here are my top ten
tips for doing business the Virgin way:
1. Follow your dreams.
You will live a much better life if you pursue
your passions. People who work on the things
that they love usually enjoy life more than
everyone else does simply because they are
chasing their dreams.
2. Do some good.
If you aren t making a difference in other
people s lives, you shouldn t be in business -
it s that simple. Companies have a responsibility
to make a difference in the world: They owe
this to their community, their staff, their cus-
tomers, everyone. The amazing part is that
doing good is also good for business - what
are you waiting for?
3. Believe in your ideas: Give your
venture everything you've got.
A passionate commitment to your business
and personal objectives can make all the dif-
ference between success and failure. If you
aren t proud of what you re doing, why should
anybody else be? And don t get suckered into
blindly pursuing profits and growth. If you
stay focused on being the best at what you
do, it s more likely that the rest will follow.
4. Have fun, and make sure that
your team members are enjoying
Fun is one of the most important---and
underrated---components of any successful
venture. If you re not enjoying yourself, it s
probably time to call it quits and try something
else. If your employees are engaged and having
fun, and they genuinely care about your cus-
tomers, they will enjoy their work more and
do a better job. Hire people who look for the
best in others, who lavish more praise than
they dole out criticism, and who genuinely
love what they do.
5. Don't give up.
On every adventure that I have undertak-
en---whether it was setting up a business,
flying around the world in a balloon or racing
across an ocean in a powerboat---I have faced
difficult moments when the easiest thing to
do would have been to throw in the towel and
walk away. But you ll be amazed at what you
can achieve by tenaciously sticking to your
goals. When you fail, get back up, brush your-
self off and try again.
6. Listen, take lots of notes and
keep setting yourself new
If you don t write down your own (and oth-
ers ) spontaneous ideas, they can vanish in
the blink of an eye. So be sure to keep track
of your goals: make lists. And remember to
listen more and talk less. You ll be amazed at
the obstacles a listening culture can overcome.
7. Delegate, and spend more time
with your family.
The art of delegation is one of the key skills
that entrepreneurs must master. Be sure to
"hire to your weaknesses." Bringing on people
who can do the tasks you aren t particularly
good at can free you up to plan for your com-
pany s future. This strategy also allows you to
spend more time with your family, which is
really the most important thing of all.
Oh yes, and don t forget to as your family
for input on your latest big idea; like I should
have done before we launched Mates condoms,
8. Communicate, collaborate and
communicate some more.
Keep it simple, stupid . and above all else,
work and play with others. Mushrooms might
grow when they are kept in the dark and fed
a diet of dung, but that strategy doesn t work
with people. The Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
and companies like Pixar built open work
environments that invited intermingling and
the sharing of visions; you need that atmos-
9. Turn off your laptop and iPhone,
and get out there.
Don t sit in front of a screen all day. Switch
everything off and venture out into the world
regularly. If you ve been neglecting this part
of life, start with your own backyard, then
expand your field of vision. With so many
fascinating people to meet, exciting adventures
to embark upon and rewarding challenges to
undertake, there s no time to lose. As the
saying goes: Life isn t a dress rehearsal.
10. Do what you love, and keep a
couch in the kitchen.
As long as you are surrounded by the people
you love and you re doing what you love, it
really doesn t matter where you live or how
much money you make. When we are on
Necker Island, my family tends to spend most
of our time in the kitchen together. If you have
a roof over your head and a partner you love,
you really don t need too much more.
Now, I really must get back to my hammock
so I can do some business around here that s
known as the Virgin Islands way!
(This column was adapted from Richard Branson's
forthcoming book, The Virgin Way. For more infor-
mation, go to virgin.com/richardbranson/books.)
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin
Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin
America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He maintains
a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog. You
can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/richard-
branson. To learn more about the Virgin Group:
(Questions from readers will be answered in future
columns. Please send them to
RichardBranson@nytimes.com. Please include your
name, country, e-mail address and the name of the
Web site or publication where you read the column.)
Ten tips for
the Virgin way
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