Successful people Part 1 - Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group)
“We’re going where no one has gone before. There’s no model to follow, nothing to copy. That is what makes this so exciting.” - Richard Branson
Much like the public has come to expect the unexpected from this unpredictable British entrepreneur, so too is the Richard Branson biography a story of ups and downs, antics and wild behaviour, and both successes and failures. To learn about this Virgin Knight is to understand more about a man who has refused to follow convention, who has pursued and achieved his dreams his way, and who seems to have had more fun than most along the way.
This is a story that begins on July 18, 1950 in Shamley Green, Surrey, England. Growing up in a traditional family, Branson struggled throughout school due to an as of yet undiagnosed problem of dyslexia. He excelled in sports, serving as the captain of both his school’s football and cricket teams, but it was in business that he found his true calling. Despite failing in two early ventures – growing Christmas trees and raising Australian parrots – he was determined to create his own successful business.
When he was 16 years old, he dropped out of school to move to London and launch Student Magazine, which did see relatively more success. But, it was in founding the Virgin mail order record company three years later that his life would become something of real significance. His success in selling mail order records led to the opening of a record shop on Oxford Street in London, and soon after, Branson’s very own record label, Virgin Records.
The success of Virgin Records allowed Branson to buy an estate in the country, on which he built a recording studio and leased time out to struggling artists. On May 25, 1973, the Richard Branson biography took on a whole new dimension with the release of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells – the first release for Virgin Records, which quickly became a best-seller throughout England. In a relatively short period, what Branson started as a mail order company had become one of the more significant record labels in the U.K. From thereon out, Virgin Records would continue to know much mainstream success.
On the road to success, this life story would also be filled with much controversy. From signing notorious bands such as the Sex Pistols to purchasing the gay nightclub Heaven and entering the struggling airline industries with Virgin Atlantic, Branson has not shied away from challenging pursuits. Indeed, it seems to be the very challenge that he has been after.
Despite selling the Virgin record label to EMI in 1992, the entrepreneur continues to make headlines: he was in the news after launching Virgin Galactic, a new space tourism company, in 2004; he established a school for entrepreneurship in South Africa; and, more recently, he committed to investing $3 billion of Virgin’s profits over the next ten years to help in the fight against global warming.
The Richard Branson biography is not your typical story of business success. Branson has used eccentric means and traveled unconventional roads to get to where he is today, but sitting atop a fortune of almost $8 billion, few can question his entrepreneurial savvy.