"We are committed to building a better world for the common good" Photo: ricecentre.ca

“Did you know that forty percent—40 percent—of young people want to be their own boss someday? That’s a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs: Millions and millions in fact.”

The GCGI has always tried to be a voice of encouragement and to support the global youth in realising their dreams of building a better world for the common good.

As well as organising conferences and meetings involving the youth and their engagements with the older generation, we have always provided a platform to showcase the achievements of the youth. This has always been a source of hope and encouragement to the GCGI family and friends.

Today we are initiating a Weekly-Blog project to bring the experience, vision and insight of successful entrepreneurs- leaders who are leveraging the power of business to solve some of the world's most pressing social and environmental problems- to the attention of the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. This is the continuation of our Dialogue of Generations that the GCGI initiated in 2012/13.

As it has been noted, there is no clear-cut success formula for succeeding in business. If there was one, we would never hear stories of business failure. But if we take a peep into the history of all successful business organizations, we will find close similarities in their methods of operation in the initial years and beyond.

There are certain steps that all these organizations have followed. These initial methods played a crucial role in their success. Here are few steps that many successful entrepreneurs have used to succeed in business.

What can today’s aspiring entrepreneurs learn from Sir Richard Branson?


Photo:entrepreneur.com

Richard Branson's top 10 tips for success*

“Richard Branson left school at the age of 16 and set up Student Magazine with one of his friends. He went on to start Virgin Records in the 1970s and is the founder of the Virgin Group. In the 1980s he formed Virgin Atlantic airline and the 1990s saw the arrival of Virgin Mobile and Virgin Trains.

He is one of the most successful businessmen in the UK and an icon of entrepreneurship. His latest project is Virgin Galactic, which he hopes will one day become a space tourism company.

Here are his Top Ten Tips for success:*

1. Follow your dreams and just do it

Follow your dreams, get involved in life, in the things that interest you. If you are going to create a business, make sure it is your hobby, your passion or something that you really enjoy.

You will live a much better life that way. Don't just set out to do something for the sake of making money.

I think lots of people have lots of great ideas, but very few people actually go out and try to put them into practice.

There are lots of people who think that somebody must have done that before, or you'll never raise the money or you shouldn't take a risk in life.

It's the people who say I'm just going to do it, that end up having a chance of having a much more exciting and rewarding life.

2. Make a positive difference and do some good

The first thing to do if you want to become an entrepreneur is basically to have an idea that is going to make a positive difference to other people's lives. A business is simply that.

If you're running a business you are in a position where you can make a hell of a difference in this world.

I also think it's great for the staff of a company that they can feel good about a company that is actually getting out there and doing good.

3. Believe in your ideas and be the best

You definitely need to believe in your idea. There's really no point in doing something in life unless people feel really good about it and proud about it. You've got to have passion for it and you've got to be able to inspire other people to have a passion for it too.

If an idea is a good idea you should be able to pitch it in two or three sentences and two or three sentences fit very neatly on the back of an envelope.

There was no point creating a new airline unless it was going to be palpably better than every other airline in the world, you've got to make sure that every aspect of what you do is better than the competition.

4. Have fun and look after your team

I 100% believe that it's important to have fun and if you're not having fun anymore, it might be time to move on. You should have fun from the top down and create the kind of environment that's pleasant to work in.

Make sure that you've got the kinds of people running your companies who genuinely care about people, who look for the best in people and who praise and don't criticise.

People are not that unlike flowers. If a flower is watered it flourishes and if a flower is not watered it dries up and dies and I think the same applies to people.

5. Don't give up

It's extremely important not to give up. There have been situations in my adventures, like crossing the pacific in a balloon, where the odds were stacked very heavily against us surviving.

Being an entrepreneur is not that dissimilar to being an adventurer. You have plenty of situations where your back is right up against a wall and you've just got to work day and night to make sure you overcome the difficulties a particular company finds itself in. Brush yourself down the next day and move on into something else.

I think I'm reasonably good at dealing with failure and not letting it get me down for more than an hour or two as long as I put everything I can into avoiding it.

6. Make lots of lists and keep setting yourself new challenges

I make copious lists because I think it's the little details that make for an exceptional company over an average company. Details are very important and I think it's important to keep setting yourself new challenges and targets.

I do believe that the first of the year is a good time to write down your goals for the year. Unless you actually organise yourself and write down the kinds of things you want to achieve, there's a danger that as time slips by, you don't achieve a lot.

7. Spend time with your family and learn to delegate

One of the early things you have to do as an entrepreneur is learn the art of delegation. Find people who are better than you to run the companies on a day-to-day basis, freeing yourself up to think about the bigger picture and spend time with your family.

That's very important, especially if you've got children, they are what's going to be left when you're gone.

I know I'm a good entrepreneur, but I'm not sure that I'd be a very good manager and there is a difference. My mind is always thinking ahead and wanting to create new things.

I just think once I've set something up, it's better if someone else runs it. I can dive in and out and be a pain occasionally, but the day-to-day business is better for somebody else to do.

8. Try turning off the TV and get out there and do things

My mum brought us up very much to get out there and do things, don't watch other people do things, and don't watch television. I think that was a good way of bringing up kids. With my own kids, we've spent quite a lot of time in the Caribbean and we never watch television there.

I think I am capable of switching off on Necker Island which is where we sort of pull up the drawbridge. But what I'm doing I see as so fascinating, so rewarding, so interesting that I don't ever really want to switch off too much because I find myself in such a wonderful, challenging position that I don't want to waste that position and there are just so many important challenges going on.

9. When people say bad things about you, just prove them wrong

There are people who hang onto the coat tails of successful people and try to sell a few books on the back of their name. It's unpleasant but you know that if you sue them or kick up a fuss, all it will do is publicise the book. So I've had to learn the art of ignoring people like that.

I think the best thing to do is just to prove them wrong in every single way. This particular book, (Branson: Behind the Mask by Tom Bower), says that our spaceship programme is a white elephant, later this year we will prove them wrong.

10. Do what you love and have a sofa in the kitchen

You only live one life, so I would do the thing that you are going to enjoy. When life boils down, this might sound like a little much coming from me, I do have my own little island in the Caribbean, but when we are on that island, we tend to just live in the kitchen.

The truth is, so long as you've got a kitchen which has space for a sofa, and a bedroom, and a partner that you love, you don't necessarily need the add-ons in life.

Then, if you're doing something that really interests you, it will result in a much more enjoyable life rather than just doing something for the sake of making money.”

*The above 10 steps were first printed at the BBC News on 15 March 2014

BBC News - Richard Branson's top 10 tips for success

See also:

Sir Richard Branson and “Ubuntu”: “I am because you are”

Life, Work, Success and Happiness According to Richard Branson

Read more:

“The Dalai Lama was once asked what surprised him most. He replied: "Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

Now let me share with you the words and sentiments of a young executive, a CEO, earning a lot of money, with bonuses, power, and more: “Now it's all about Productivity, Pay, Performance and Profit - the four Ps – which are fuelled by the three Fs: Fear, Frustration and Failure. Just sometimes I wish that in the midst of these Ps (& Fs), there was some time left for another set of four Fs: Families, Friends, Festivals and Fun.”

You see ladies and gentlemen, we need values, we need love, friendship, kindness, generosity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion to be the guiding principles of all we do. Otherwise, no amount of money, capital, technology, IT, theories and policies, can save us from our own mistakes, the crises of our own making.”

“A Better Path”: A Lecture at School of Economic Science

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