Inspiration from Sir Richard Branson
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
Sir Richard Branson (1950-) is best known as the flamboyant British billionaire who started Virgin records but widely diversified in many businesses.
Success is a result of helping others. Richard started a Student Advisory Centre at age 17, aiming to help young people. This initial display of entrepreneurship was the beginning of his many great successes.
Success is expanding on what you know. At twenty years old, Branson founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer and a short while later, he opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. In 1972, he expanded to build a recording studio in Oxfordshire.
Success is recognizing talent. The first album of Virgin Records went on to sell more than five million copies. The instrumental artist Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” released in 1973 was a cash cow for Branson’s Virgin Records, and it stayed in the UK music charts for 247 weeks. At the age of 27, Richard signed The Sex Pistols to the Virgin Records label after the group was turned down by every label in Great Britain. Over the years, he signed many superstar names including Steve Winwood, Paula Abdul, Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, The Human League, Bryan Ferry, Culture Club, Janet Jackson, and The Rolling Stones.
Success is knowing when to cash in. In 1992, the Virgin Music Group—record labels, music publishing, and recording studios—was sold to Thorn EMI in a $1 billion US deal.
Success is diversification. The interests of Virgin Group have since expanded into international “Megastore” music retailing, books and software publishing, film and video editing facilities, and clubs and hotels throughout 100 companies in 15 countries.
Success is excellence. Virgin Atlantic Airways, started in 1984, is now the second largest British long haul international airline and operates a fleet of Boeing 747 aircrafts to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, and Tokyo.
Success is continuing to help others. In addition to his own business activities, Branson is a trustee of several charities, including The Healthcare Foundation, a leading healthcare charity responsible for the launch of a health education campaign named Parents Against Tobacco, aiming to limit tobacco advertisements and sponsorships in sports.
Success is being passionate about life. Since 1985, Branson has been getting his adrenaline rushes through world record-breaking attempts by boat and hot air balloon. • “Sometimes I do wake up in the mornings and feel like I’ve just had the most incredible dream. I’ve just dreamt my life.”
Success is about balance. “Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa–and it’s about getting a balance.”
Success is having a good sense of humor. “With the casino and the beds, our passengers will have at least two ways to get lucky on one of our flights.”
[Sources: http://www.virgin.com, http://www.woopidoo.com, http://www.askmen.com]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)