Richard Branson is the only billionaire that I would want to have a drink with. He is a good mix of wealthy and fun. Which is also where his success comes from. In 1970, he got into record sales by setting up a mail-order system. His first venture was successful in sales. Unfortunately, he obtained low import prices on the records because tax was not charged. He would spent a night in jail and the courts would rule that he owed quite a sum of money to the government. In quite a pickle, his mom would step in. She remortgaged the house to help Richard Branson pay this fine. He would later open up a record store. What differentiated his record stores from others was the experience. He would fill the store with comfortable chairs for people to come in and listen to music. It was a social gathering place. And he always placed the most importance on the customer. He would open up more successful stores. The stores were name Virgin Stores.
By 1972, he took some of his earnings and ventured into creating the Virgin Records recording label. He leased out studio time. Mike Oldfield was their first successful recording artist. Richard Branson’s business was based on making being different from their competitor. He understood that controversy would be good business for the industry that he was in. Richard Branson signed the Sex Pistols when no one else would. In 1982, virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven when homosexuality was vexed. He would use the nightclub to promote acts.
In 1992, he would sell Virgin records to EMI. Richard Branson would use the money to start Virgin Atlantic Airways. Similar to previous ventures, customer comfort came first. The airline comes with 3 different flight classes. Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer personal entertainment to all classes. He also made money by entering the media market with Virgin Mobile and selling the company UK Cable.
Richard Branson is a thrill seeker. He tried to break world records in racing his boat across the ocean and speeding in hot air balloons. He owns Necker Island, which he purchased for a mere $180,000 back in 1978. Similar to Elon Musk and Bill Gates, he also has his initiatives that he is willing to put his riches into. He is the founder of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Similar to Elon Musk, he is looking for solutions to global warming.
Richard Branson: The Life and Lessons of Richard Branson is a short, but great biography written by George Ilian. It is free to Kindle Unlimited users and goes for a low price of 99 cents to non-unlimited users.