I am a firm believer that success always leaves clues, so instead of learning the hard way, it makes sense to learn from those who have gone before us.

A few years ago I had the amazing privilege of attending a live interview with Sir Richard Branson.  Having spent a number of years working for Virgin, I have long respected the man for his achievements. While his style may be a little controversial at times, there is no doubt that he really is an inspiration to many and someone we can clearly learn from.  Below I have summarised some of the key leadership and entrepreneurship principles that Sir Richard shared with us at the live interview.

  1. To succeed in business you need to build a great team around you that believes in what you are doing.
  2. A good leader should be genuinely interested in their people and strive to see the best in them.
  3. If you praise people, they flourish.  Always look for a way to praise your team.
  4. A leader should promote people above their expectations.  This demonstration of trust often causes them to excel.
  5. Leadership requires knowing how to delegate and how to be a good listener.
  6. A successful business comes from creating something that makes a difference to other people’s lives.
  7. You can identify a gap in the market by asking yourself how you can do better what others are already doing.  Go for quality, make sure you are the best at what you do, otherwise it’s pointless.  Create something you can be proud of.
  8. Always be prepared for the worst that can happen.  This will help turn adversity into success.
  9. Starting a business is tough, but you have to fight for its survival.
  10. Don’t treat your bank like your GP, be ready to switch to get the support you need to ensure your business succeeds.
  11. There is no point launching a product unless you can get the word out about it.  Free PR is one of the best ways to do this.
  12. Get the detail right!
  13. Successful business leaders need to remember that they are incredibly fortunate.  They have an immense responsibility to give back to society by e.g. starting new ventures that create jobs, contributing to social upliftment, etc.  It’s about changing the community you live in.