Richard Branson: biography of the founder of Virgin

Richard Branson: biography of the founder of Virgin
Richard Charles Nicholas Branson. Picture:

Richard Branson: “Life is fucking fun when you say YES more often!”

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, commonly known as Richard Branson, is a British business tycoon and owner of the Virgin Group of Companies, which comprises over 400 businesses.

In 2020, his fortune, according to Forbes, was estimated at $4.4 billion, and the logo of his corporation can be found on everything from bank cards, books and music records to airplanes and spaceships.

Richard’s secret to success

“My philosophy is this: if I have money, I invest it in new ventures, and do not leave it idle.”

Branson considers the ability and desire to communicate with people the secret of his success. These abilities manifested themselves quite early: at the age of sixteen, due to learning problems – Richard suffered from dyslexia – he left school in his native Blackheath and started publishing his own Student magazine.

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Fortunately, the Branson family did not live in poverty and could afford the expensive hobbies of the eldest of four children: his father, Edward, was a successful lawyer, and his grandfather was a judge of the High Court.

Foundation of the Virgin brand

Further, more: In 1970, Richard started a small business delivering vinyl records by mail. It was then that the name Virgin appeared. Things were going pretty well until he was arrested for violating some of the rules of the trade. But Richard Branson wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t strive for more.

Richard Branson
Richard Branson. Picture:

“I see life as one big adventure. I am always learning and finding new things to try and challenges to overcome.”

In 1972, he took the plunge and opened a chain of stores and his own record label under the collective name Virgin Records. And then, as they say – away we go! Already the first release with Mike Oldfield, today’s world-famous multi-instrumentalist, brought Branson’s company millions in sales and a Grammy award.

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By the way, in relations with a novice musician, most revealingly, all the eccentricity of the personality of the future billionaire manifested itself. Mike Oldfield at that time was, though talented, but a street musician. And yes, it looked like it. Branson settled this London bum-like genius in his own studio. Such a selfless impulse subsequently brought Virgin Records a considerable profit and helped the company to stay afloat for three years.

The first successes not only inspired Richard, but also taught him a lot. Relying on his own instinct, he decides to create musical stars on his own, promoting unknown performers to the masses. It was through Virgin Records that the world became aware of musicians such as the Sex Pistols, Sting and many more.

“The music industry is a strange mix of real and intangible assets: pop bands are trademarks in their own right, and at some point in their careers, their name alone can almost guarantee success.”

But the music didn’t last long. Record stores began to deteriorate and soon most of them had to be sold, leaving only the Virgin Mega Store, which still exist today.

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Not wanting to sit still, Branson switched to other areas of activity, and by the mid-1980s the company became a truly diversified British enterprise. Here are just some of the companies that were part of it at that time:

  • Virgin Vision – production and distribution of films for film and TV;
  • Virgin Developments – trade, real estate, innovative projects;
  • Virgin Games develops and sells computer games.

And yet, in 1978, Branson bought Necker Island in the Caribbean for his future wife, Joan Templeton. Later, he turned it into a resort paradise popular among politicians and businessmen, not missing the opportunity to make money here.

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Despite the fact that all these (and many other) undertakings brought in significant income, they did not match the temperament of Richard Branson and his desire to truly conquer the world. He felt like a bird, caged in financial charts and unfulfilled aspirations.

“For me, business is not about wearing suits or appeasing shareholders. The point is to be true to yourself, your ideas and focus on the essentials.”

Virgin Atlantic Airlines

And in 1984, Branson founded his airline Virgin Atlantic Airlines.

Richard Branson
Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Picture:

The partners did not support the crazy idea at the time, as they clearly imagined how costly this undertaking would be for Virgin. And the competition with British Airways, the then monopoly in the air transportation market, did not promise bright prospects. Richard insisted on his own and the wheels (or rather the blades) spun.

It all started with the lease of just one Boeing aircraft. As expected, British Airlines launched a vigorous campaign to nip Branson’s market penetration in the bud: slander, insults, outright lies were just a small part of what the newcomer had to deal with. In the end, Virgin Atlantic sued the competitor and won.

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Already the first year of active flights brought the company to self-sufficiency and opened up access to new routes. And unusual innovations in passenger service not only attracted the attention of the world media, but also helped in the competition. So, for example, clients were delivered to the airport in limousines, and massages were given during the flights!

“It was fun: whatever industry Virgin took on, it literally turned it on its head. And this industry will never be the same again.”

And the “fun” continued. One after another, more and more new enterprises of Richard Branson and the Virgin Group appear – Virgin Trains, Virgin Radio, Virgin Television, Virgin Mobile … Today there are rumors that even the billionaire himself does not know how many companies he owns!

Virgin Galactic

In 2004, Branson outdid himself by founding Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company. Already today, anyone can book a ticket to space for $200,000. And this will not seem like something incredible if you look at the market quotations of its shares, which indicates investor confidence, although so far the company is not profitable.

Richard Branson
Virgin Galactic. Picture:

The idea of ​​​​creating Virgin Galactic is, in fact, the realization of the essence of Richard Branson: space, speed, challenge to one’s own capabilities – this is it. He owns a dozen world records in sea and aeronautics.

“You have to take risks if you want to succeed. I would rather ask for forgiveness than permission.”

Branson is trying to instill this attitude to life not only in his employees, but also in everyone who wants to succeed. His books (there are already more than twenty of them) like hot cakes, sold out all over the world.

Grateful Sir Richard!

Having achieved almost all the goals set for himself, the billionaire is trying in every possible way to thank people, and the world as a whole, for the opportunities provided to him.

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Branson is a committed environmentalist and philanthropist. The Virgin Group allocates huge funds to fight global warming and develop renewable energy sources; sponsors a large number of charities and events.

Bright and mysterious Richard Branson is in love with life and literally inhales it with full breasts.

“Take a risk! This is the best way to test yourself, have fun and expand the boundaries of your own world!”.