‘Follow your instincts!’ Richard Branson shares secrets for multimillionaire success

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The business mogul, investor and author is worth an astounding $6billlion (£4.3billion) saw his claim to fame in 1970 when he set up a mail-order record business, Virgin Records later known as Virgin Megastores. And now at the age of 71, he still isn’t planning on slowing down, but what is the key to entrepreneurial success of this size and how did he do it?

While Sir Branson’s journey is anything but ordinary, there are plenty of moments from his career with defining decisions that saw him gain limitless successes that can be used by entrepreneurs today.

The first of which is: opportunity and variety go hand in hand.

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Sir Branson has adventured into almost every business field imaginable, from airlines to cell phones and everything in between, one clear lesson here is that having a variety of not just income streams but business opportunities as well is vital.

But how does one venture into a field they know nothing about? Quite easily apparently, as Gemma Birbeck proved when she started her own PR business despite having spent the majority of her career as an account manager.

The key in shifting focus when it comes to business is essentially being fearless but calculated, as Sir Branson said in an interview with Foundr: “I definitely go on gut instinct but it has always had the backup of research and information. Never be frightened of taking risks, and always follow your instincts! Don’t be afraid to take that leap into the unknown.”

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There is no timeline

Many potential entrepreneurs are on the very edge of the fence, simply waiting for the perfect moment to dive into their own business, but the fact is that if one is waiting for that moment, it will never come.

Sir Branson had his first business venture at 16 when he founded Student magazine and was still an unstoppable entrepreneur at 54 when he started the space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

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He has proved that there is no set timeline on starting a business, and more importantly that there is no such thing as being ‘too late’ to start fresh.

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Branding and belief

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There’s no question that majority of entrepreneurship, especially for one’s first venture, requires an unconquerable amount of belief in the business, the brand and its offerings, with brand being one of the most important on the list.

As an entrepreneur, brand and offerings are the first thing a customer will remember, and it is highly suggested that entrepreneurs become the face of their brand because of this, supplying that human connection is vital to client interaction, but understandably this is a daunting task for many.

Associating one’s entire identity with a company means that if it fails, people will immediately associate them with failure, but this is where the belief in one’s brand becomes all the more necessary.

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For example, while it may not seem that there is any connection between the Virgin branding and Richard Branson himself, the reason he named it ‘Virgin’ was due to his own inexperience in business, fully believing in the brand because he is the brand while showcasing what may have been one of his biggest weaknesses in business.

“Above all, you want to create something you are broad of. That’s always been my philosophy of business,” he commented.

The only reason that Sir Branson’s successes are more well-known than his failures is because they never made him give up.

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Virgin Cola, Virgin Cars and Virgin Brides were all created to be as much of a success as Virgin Mobile, but these failures are what eventually got Sir Branson into making Virgin Mobile in the first place.

“It can be a challenge not to let failure, or negativity from others, prevent you from going after what you believe in, and what in your gut you know can work. However, it’s important to face these challenges head on and give them a go – and importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you fail. Just pick yourself up, learn as much as you can from the experience and get on with the next challenge.”

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