When you think of the world’s business magnate, investor and philanthropist, Richard Branson is probably top of your mind. This iconic personality dropped out of school at 16 and built a massive business empire, keeping the ‘Virgin’ brand at the centre of everything he does.
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Despite penning The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership, Branson has surprisingly never read a book on leadership.
So what else don’t we know that we simply must?
GMR pick 7 aspects of Branson’s personality marketers NEED to learn from:
#1 Never went to business school
Branson never went to business school.
Branson writes in his blog: “Going to university is the right choice if you’re looking to become a scientist, architect or doctor. A programme of study in one of those fields is essential preparation, though you don’t stop learning after the degree is done – my daughter Holly who studied medicine is a great example.”
#2 Loves to break the rules
Much of Branson’s achievements are due to his unyielding determination to break the rules and rewrite them.
In a recent tweet, he said: “Life is short, break the rules. Love this Mark Twain quote, what’s your favourite?”
Many believe had he conformed to the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business, he probably wouldn’t have been that successful – or wealthy.
#3 Suffers from dyslexia
Branson was a dyslexic schoolboy from Buckinghamshire until he started his own business aged 16.
Again writing on his blog Branson notes how he refused to be cowed down by this disability and made it his strength.
“’I’ve managed to be successful because I’ve focused on what I’m good at. When I was a child no one really knew what dyslexia was. I was typecast as lazy and dumb. I would sit at the back of the class, trying to make sense of the chalkboard, which was always very much a jumble to me. I couldn’t keep up and didn’t fit in, so I left school as soon as I could to set up Student magazine and later Virgin Records.”
“I quickly realised I needed to focus on my strengths – seeing the bigger picture and trying to grow the business. I learned to delegate and build a team around me that I could trust. I made the most of every opportunity that was thrown my way and fought to make big dreams like starting an airline happen,” Branson added.
#4 Keeps reinventing the brand
In his autobiography, Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography he reveals how he created 12 different billion-dollar businesses and hundreds more companies across dozens of sectors, while breaking world records on land, sea and air.
Throughout his six decades of experience, Branson kept on reinventing himself and his brand for the 21st century, while continuing to push boundaries in more ways than one.
#5 Keeps away from board meetings
From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), cola (Virgin Cola), financial services, bridal wear and others, Branson has expanded his brand into various new categories, and probably into every corner of the world.
Surprisingly,however, Branson doesn’t sit on the board of any of the companies within the Virgin group.
#6 He’s a morning person
Yes you read it right! Branson is a morning person.
“I like to wake up early; usually around 5am. I get out of bed and do some exercise – play a game of tennis, go for a walk or a run, jump on my bike, or if there’s enough wind, go for a kitesurf. Then I eat breakfast and spend time with my family. Exercise and family time put me in a great mind frame before getting down to business,” he noted in his blog post.
#7 He drink lots of tea
Having a fondness for a coffee usually goes well with businessmen. But not for Branson.
“To keep me energised, I drink lots of tea. I’m talking 20 cups a day – don’t tell my doctor. I grab food when I can, normally scheduling a meeting over lunchtime. I’m not a fan of formal meetings and would much prefer to lighten the mood with a shared meal, or if I’m pressed for time, a walking meeting.”