Would you believe it if I told you that possibly the best entrepreneur living today never graduated from high school? Even though he is dyslexic and struggled to impress his middle school teachers, he currently runs over four hundred companies, nine of which have exceeded one billion dollars in revenue. If you haven’t yet guessed who I am talking about, I am describing Richard Branson. Or should I say Sir Richard Branson. This past December, I was given the opportunity to travel with a group of entrepreneurs to Richard’s private island. After a week of spending time with this great businessman, here are a few things I observed that make him the best entrepreneur on earth:
1) He thinks BIG. When he looks at an opportunity, he has the ability to see much larger than the average person can. One of his favorite quotes states, "If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."
2) He keeps things simple. Since he is dyslexic, he has trouble processing complex details. This allows him to focus on the big picture. He always says, "Any fool can make something complex. It takes a genius to keep things simple.”
3) He is disruptive. Most of his business ideas come from a frustration. When the common practices of an industry frustrate him, he takes the opportunity to start a company that shakes things up with a disruptive solution. For example, his idea for a service driven Virgin Airlines came from his frustration with the service he was receiving on the existing airlines.
4) He enjoys life. He spends a significant amount of time each day kite surfing, playing tennis, and sharing meals with visitors on his island. Similarly, he invests in businesses that he knows he will enjoy being a part of.
5) He believes that doing good is good for business. He likes to invest in projects that will have a huge positive impact.
One of his latest ventures is Virgin Galactic, which will likely be the first commercial space line. When all of the experts told him this project would not work, he responded by saying, "Screw it, let's do it.” Only time will tell if this venture will truly be a success. In the meantime, you need to think big, keep it simple, be disruptive, have fun, and help as many people as possible if you want to be like Richard Branson.