Sir Richard Branson is an English entrepreneur, best known for his Virgin Group of companies. With more than 400 companies in over 30 countries, the Virgin Group has now expanded into leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance and health. Richard Branson bootstrapped his way from record-shop owner to head of the Virgin empire. These are some of  the  celebrated English entrepreneur’s  thoughts, ideas, advice and strategies for starting and growing a successful business.

  1. When my friends and I started the first Virgin business 40 years ago, we had no master plan– especially not one for a group of companies that by 2011. Our experience shows that company’s culture evolve organically.
  2. Remember that how you treat the customer will form the basis of your corporate culture. Put your staff first, listen to them, and follow up on their ideas and suggestions.
  3. We look for opportunities where we can offer something better, fresher and more valuable and we seize them. We often move areas where the customer received a poor deal and where the competition is complacent. And with our growing e-commerce activities, we also look to deliver old products in new ways. We are proactive and quick to act, often leaving bigger and more cumbersome organizations in our wake
  4. To be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running, and if you have a good team around you and more than a fair share of luck, you might make something happen. But you certainly can’t guarantee it just by following someone else’s formula.
  5. We don’t actually plan to launch new businesses over the next few years, but we are planning to take the ones we have into new territories.
  6. The advice that entrepreneurs seem to find most helpful: give the rest of your team space to work — in many cases, by moving your office out of the building.
  7. Remove yourself from the business’s day-to-day functions and find someone to replace you as head of operations so you have enough uninterrupted time to look at the big picture and make decisions about the company’s future direction.
  8. If you can, it would be best to work out the details of the expansion plan together, taking into account the challenges faced by your employees, and incorporating improvements they would like to make.
  9. You can build good communications into your company’s DNA by ensuring that discussions are built on openness, clear language, and a willingness to listen to everyone who has something to say, from the person at reception to your top manager.
  10. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun and it has to exercise your creative instincts.