Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson Autobiography Book Summary

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Richard Branson is one of the most successful people in the world, he has won at life. He has a net worth of $4.8billion and appears to be one of the happiest people alive. He has his own Island in the virgin isles, that is where he now spends most of his time, enjoying his family and soaking up the sun. If there’s any life most people would want, it would be his.

Humble Beginnings

His family was neither rich nor poor, he says they never went without anything, but they never lived with frequent treats either. He went to a boarding school where he struggled immensely, his dyslexia led to him failing almost every class he took. He was a gifted sportsmen until he damaged his knee playing football, after that he had no respect at school. He became very unpopular, had very little friends and none of the teachers liked him. He says in his book he would get beaten weekly whilst at school.

His life now is a complete contrast to his upbringing, never would anyone ever imagined that such a stupid, poor little child would ever amount to anything near what he is today. Richard Branson surpassed all expectation ever placed upon him, so can you. Never let the expectations people have of you to limit you in any way, chances are if you tell someone you want to be a billionaire they will simply laugh in your face. People never believe such success is possible for them, or the people around them.

Success is possible whatever your surroundings, you can change them.

Young Entrepreneur

As a young child in high school Richard attempted to start-up many businesses: christmas tree growing and bird keeping as just a couple of examples. Most of his early attempts failed miserably, but his parents were supportive and he continued to try. You will never succeed at anything first time, success requires persistence and dedication. Anything worth doing is going to take time. His first real success in business was his magazine: Student.

Student was designed as a magazine aimed at university students, in the hope that high schoolers would read it in order to act more grown up. His aim was to bring current news and hot topics to the youth of his day. He was part of the change that gave students more of a voice. He got the vision for student when he was 15, by the time he was 18 the first issue was published and thousands of issues were sold.

Eventually this grew into a massive magazine and he was interviewing the hottest celebrities of his time. However he had to sacrifice a lot to get it there, him and his team of people working on student all lived in the same house where they worked out of. From what he described it seems comparable to squatting, they were living hand to mouth.

This wouldn’t be seen as good business practice, because it’s not in the typical sense but Richard Branson would pride himself on it. He says doing business in an unconventional way can help you relate better to customers, it also allows you access to more opportunities. So don’t stick to the typical format for business, go about it in your own crazy way. The world wants new exciting things, so gob out there and give it to them.

Expansion

Branson then went into a mail order record company, he would buy up the latest records in bulk and sell them at really low prices to undercut the competition which was mainly WH Smiths at the time. However a postal strike forced him to open up his own record shop, this eventually turned into a chain of hundreds of record shops and ‘mega stores.’ He next went into becoming a record label with his own mansion for recording music in. This made him enough money to get into aviation and he opened up Virgin Atlantic to take over Freddie Laker’s old place. Long story short he now has over 400 companies, including space travel, trains, condoms and wine. No one else owns such a large and diverse group of businesses.

His secret, taking out humongous bank loans, taking huge risks and putting all the profits back into the business. He could have failed many times but his quick reactions and smart thinking always kept him one step ahead  of the banks.

Business Tips From Branson

– Always have fun with what you’re doing

– Go into a business that you are passionate about, one that excites you

– Work around the clock, weekends are not an excuse for a break

– Know you customers, don’t forget who they are and what they want

– Put your staffs well-being before anything else, a well run company is far more profitable

– Always go into a business with someone who is an expert in it

– Learn to mange people, it is the most valuable skill you can have

– Never risk more than your willing to lose

– Use your strengths and don’t do anything that you don’t have the skills to do well

– Know when to quit and accept defeat

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