Book Notes: Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Title: Losing My Virginity

Author(s): Richard Branson

Rating (0-5): 4

Amazon link: Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

My Notes:

  • Always have a checklist (would have prevented problem of locked canisters on the balloon)
  • When in trouble, don’t freeze. Develop  backup plans and start executing them.
    • By the way, have backup plans ready in advance.
  • Set up challenges for your children.
    • Make them something they can accomplish, yet be a stretch.
  • Make sure your children know they’re loved.
  • You’ve got one go in life, so make the most of it.
  • Let your children form their own opinions.
  • Have children try a variety of things and meet a variety of types of people.
  • Teach children how to be entrepreneurial at a young age.
  • Teach children to care for other people.
  • Teach children to be wary of authority.
  • Teach children independence and self-reliance.
  • People learn in different ways.  Find the best technique for your children.
  • Expose your children to lots of different possible professions and hobbies.
  • Have children do something with selling – to at least become familiar with it.
  • Find a partner who has strengths where you have weaknesses.
    • Business, but also personal.
  • Only build a business if it’s fun and lets you exercise your creative instincts.
  • If you are short on a resource, see if you have anything you can leverage to get it from someone who has an excess of that resource.
  • Fully leverage the resources you have (name, reputation, etc.)
  • To be in demand, make people believe you are already in demand.
  • If you customers keep looking for the same thing (which you don’t provide), maybe it’s time to start providing it for them.
  • Have a great lawyer.
  • If someone shows you they aren’t trustworthy, get them out of a position of trust immediately.
  • Sell something people are passionate about.
  • An ideal business is one where you get the money before you have to buy the product (or create the service).
  • Keep your plans and ideas to yourself.
  • Find a business where your competitors are stuck in the old, boring, inefficient ways of doing things.
  • Create a business that forms a community of customers
  • Find where your market already is and build your business there.
  • Improve the customer’s experience.
  • If you want something, ask.
    • If they say no, find someone else to ask or some other angle of approach.
  • All you have is your reputation.
  • Hire people who are passionate, and knowledgeable, about the goods or services you sell
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have to spend.
  • Part of defining what you do is defining what you don’t do.
  • When you have a successful business, look for related businesses you can grow – using your resources (brand, customers, knowledge, etc.) from the first business.
  • Take big risks, as long as you can protect your downside.
  • Give away the smallest percentages of your deals as possible (expenses, commissions, etc.)
  • Tie people into long deals.  If they perform well, renegotiate (a little bit in their favor) and extend the deal.
  • Make sure your business isn’t stuck in a rut.  Grow and change with the times.
  • Buy under-appreciated assets that can be improved.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a low-ball offer.
  • Be open to all opportunities that come.
  • When you learn a piece of intelligence, take advantage of it quickly.
  • Stop negative rumors as quickly as possible.
  • When you have free cash, diversify.
  • Make sure to spend time doing the things that make you feel alive.
  • When a competitor mounts an outrageous defense, it may be a sign of weakness.
  • Put your trust in someone who has a lot to lose if they fail.
  • Stay private.  Don’t take outside investors with plans that are the opposite of yours.
  • Have a long-term perspective.
  • Locate your retail businesses where your customers will be (lower income near bus/train stops).
  • Pay attention to what the people around you are doing (or not doing) to determine what markets and trends may be hot (or not).
  • Always be willing to reinvent your business.
  • Find the right people, build the brand, protect your downside.
  • Find a good partner, instead of putting up huge amounts of cash.
  • Give your employees a share of the company, and an incentive to succeed.
  • Keep a notebook with you constantly.  Record every idea and event.
  • Always ask your employees and customers what you can improve.
  • Look after your employees, your customers, and then your shareholders (in that order).
  • Promote from within.
  • Keep your business groups small (50-60 people maximum).
  • When someone threatens you, they may actually be in a weak position.
  • Don’t do nothing about a problem because you can’t solve everything.  Do what you can.
  • Build to the highest quality.  One day, it may save your customers.
  • When you buy something from your providers, have the contract be a “design, build, and maintain” agreement.  They’ll build in more quality if they expect to need to maintain it.
  • If you have ongoing costs, make a plan to keep them under control.

Actions to take:

  • No specific actions from this book

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