Professional Development

The Best Career Advice from Richard Branson

Written by Peter Jones

Ever wonder how Richard Branson founded Virgin at the age of 20 and went on to own an unheard of eight different billion-dollar companies—all without a business degree? Well, now you can find out.

Here are 10 of Branson’s best suggestions for how to achieve success, starting with his number one suggestion for 2017.

1. Always write things down.

What good are good ideas when you don’t remember them after you’ve had them? Don’t forget your best ideas. Keep a notebook handy and write every single one of them down! To-do lists also fall under this advice. Don’t let anything important (or potentially important) fall through the cracks.

2. Love what you do.

If you don’t love it, you probably should find a way not to do it. Building a business takes every ounce of everything you’ve got. Don’t waste all that energy on something that isn’t enjoyable to you even a little.

3. Make a splash.

You need to be seen out there in your industry and in the world. You have to go out and sell yourself, appear in print, travel, and otherwise be visible. Meet as many people as you can and loop them all into your massive network.

4. Brand yourself with care.

When choosing your brand and name, make sure that name represents everything you want your brand to say. Pick a name that matches how you want the world to see your product. It’s worth the extra time and effort brainstorming.

5. Understand that risk is necessary.

Every business requires taking risks. Take smart ones, rather than trying to avoid any risks at all. Playing it safe won’t get you far.

6. Don’t forget the second impression.

We all know how important the first impression can be. But the second shouldn’t be forgotten. Once you bring in a customer, make sure their second impression is so good that you hang onto them for life.

7. Perfection is a mirage.

Nothing and no one is ever 100% perfect. There is always room for improvement. Embrace this and use it to push yourself ever further.

8. Go where no one else has gone.

Venture into uncharted territory. Figure out what hasn’t been done or thought of yet, and do that thing. Find the hole in the market and fill it. Spark new ideas and innovation and stay on the cutting edge.

9. Start using “we.”

You want all employees to be using the word “we” to describe their company and their relationship to their work. An absence of this is a sign that management and those down the chain of command aren’t communicating, and aren’t on the same page.

10. Know that everyone isn’t a born leader.

Managers and leaders bring the best out in people, and communicate extremely effectively. Not everyone does this well. If you found a company but don’t find yourself suitable for management, appoint people to manage—it’s okay!

About the author

Peter Jones