Being wise with investment decisions in a business context is never a straightforward exercise. There are peaks and troughs that will be experienced along the journey, but there are some principles and philosophies that help to guide participants in the right direction. English entrepreneur Richard Branson is one such example, working his way up to establish the Virgin Group enterprise that expanded to shopping centres, music stores, air travel and even space travel.
That sudden rise to prominence from the London native did not occur by chance. Through strategic developments and savvy investment decisions, he would soon amass a fortune beyond the $4 billion figure. When Branson speaks about investment in the business world, people sit up and take notice.
Risk taking is a central component that Richard Branson believes in above all else. He would famously outline that “the brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” Fear of failure will hold people back in life but that willingness and personal drive to make a successful investment decision work requires a degree of calculated risk. If there is a service or commodity that offers value to the community and there is the willingness to bring that concept to fruition, then there should be no major hurdles to reaching the end objective.
Keeping commercial ties and respecting relationships can be difficult to achieve in the investment world, but Richard Branson argues that an amicable parting of the ways is far better than aggressively burning bridges. This works on a number of counts. The first is to uphold a pleasant and respectable reputation amongst peers. The second is to keep those relationships in case there are opportunities down the road for both parties.
Empowering employees to think outside of the box and break with convention might not sound like a sound approach for those businesses that want to micromanage their investment. However, Richard Branson is of the opinion that a stale and uniform corporate culture actually harms the potential progress that could be made. The risk taking philosophy should not just be limited to the owner or the CEO, but those engineers, developers and marketers who have to be on the cutting edge of their field.
Standing out from the crowd with a business name is not an easy task. Given the millions of listings that exist around the globe, developing a unique and organic title can be a major headache. Richard Branson believes that this is essential for those ventures that want to separate themselves from the crowd and to give the project some valuable brand recognition in the process. There are few better examples of that than the Virgin empire.
Collecting a wide canvas of opinion is an approach that Richard Branson finds beneficial before making a key investment decision. Being surrounded by ‘yes men’ or paid consultants is not a healthy environment because it does not challenge assertions or push boundaries. If there is a consensus among community members about key investment strategies, then that will point towards a favourable outcome.
A principle that Richard Branson has lived by for five decades and counting in this environment is to enjoy investing in business ideas. Without this love and passion for commercial concepts like music and air travel, it will be impossible to sustain the motivation to see the investment grow and see its potential realised.
Branson has made mistakes and suffered indignities before. Given his tenancy towards taking risks, it is likely to happen again. Yet these core principles in business should offer a renewed focus for entrepreneurs who have to invest in commercial infrastructure, marketing campaigns, partnerships, product components and human beings.