Branson’s top five tips for starting a successful business

I have started a few businesses during my career with various levels of success. Now after starting yet another company, GentleKing Education, I thought it was time to revisit Richard Branson’s tips for starting a successful business. I believe these tips are essential to at least getting some positive traction.                    branson2

1. Listen more than you talk

We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.

2. Keep it simple

You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. There are thousands of simple business solutions to problems out there, just waiting to be solved by the next big thing in business. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.

3. Take pride in your work

Last week I enjoyed my favourite night of the year, the Virgin Stars of the Year Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. With so many different companies, nationalities and personalities represented under one roof, it was interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. One was pride in their work, and in the company they represent. Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Have fun, success will follow

If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will fluorish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.

5. Rip it up and start again

If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful businessperson has experienced a few failures along the way – the important thing is how you learn from them. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

Travel to space with Virgin Galactic

In the year 2012, ordinary people will get the opportunity to try out the life of an astronaut when the first commercial space flight in Sweden takes off. Together with Spaceport Sweden and Virgin Galactic, ICEHOTEL offers you the possibility to journey 130-140 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.

After a couple days of preparations, you and the rest of the crew will be ready for take-off. Although the anticipation is almost palpable, the rise towards the sky is a quiet and peaceful journey. When the countdown for igniting the rocket engine starts, you find yourself tightening you grip of the armrest, when suddenly you are pinned back into your seat as the space craft accelerates to a speed of 2500 mph, almost 3 times the speed of sound.

As you race across the atmosphere, you notice that the sky turns from blue to black outside the window. When the screaming from the rocket engine fades and the speed slows down, you start to relax. Now that the rocket engine is turned off, everything is quiet. Not just quiet, but really really quiet. The silence in space is awe inspiring, although your senses are loudly screaming in an effort to grip the fact that the gravity that usually keeps your feet safely on ground, is now gone.
There is no up or down, you feel how you are gently floating upwards from you seat and soon you will be levitating in mid-air. After a handsome somersault, you find your way towards one of the windows in order to discover a mind-boggling view. Yes, you have seen it in many photos, but nothing can prepare your eyes for the sight of the Earth’s surface hundreds of kilometres below you and if you are lucky – the Northern Lights dancing across the sky.

When you once again lean back in your seat, trying to process what you experienced during these last minutes that seemed to last a lifetime, you hear the pilot announce that its time to return back to Earth. Again the view changes as the atmosphere starts to get thicker and soon you feel that familiar thud as you touch down on Mother Earth.

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Virgin Galactic’s Virgin Flight.

Space junkies and wannabe astronauts rejoice.

This is the exclusive video of Virgin Galactic’s recent test flight in the Mojave.

Also the first official cockpit video and other footage from the recent test of Virgin Mothership Eve at the Scaled Composites skunkworks operation in sunny SoCal.

Scaled Composites and Virgin tend to keep the test results hush-hush but say “several recent published articles have been sufficiently inaccurate and negative” to make them “set the record straight.”

They could be referring to reports by FlightGlobal that VMS Eve, the prototype of the White Knight 2 that took to the air, suffered a tail strike during an April 20 flight and experienced rudder problems. Scaled Composites, in a statement called the test “very successful” and said, “we only needed to adjust the rudder forces.”

White Knight 2’s will make its public debut next month at a fly-over during the groundbreaking for Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America terminal. Head honcho Richard Branson will climb aboard for the spacecraft’s coming out party at the big AirVenture Oshkosh air show in July.