Having been an active entrepreneur for over 40 years, Richard Branson has seen many changes to the way business is conducted. You only have to look at the range of Virgin companies to get an understanding of the way markets have shifted and practices altered.
The way consumers have been able to gain access to new music through Virgin is a perfect example of how businesses and entrepreneurs have adapted themselves. The Virgin Group Founder first dipped his toe into the business waters by running a mail order records section in his Student magazine publication, then as the years passed he went on to sell records through one of the many Virgin Megastores. However nowadays Virgin customers are able to gain access to new music through Virgin Media TiVo services or by watching the latest Virgin Red Room live sessions for free.
"Anybody can create their own business and be up and running in the time it takes to register a website..."
Reflecting on these developments, Branson was clear in what he thought was the driving force behind changes in entrepreneurialism: The big change to entrepreneurship over the past 25 years has been technology. Now, more than ever, anybody can create their own business and be up and running in the time it takes to register a website.
The growing start-up community has fostered a spirit of creativity and collaboration where everyone feels they can become a successful entrepreneur. And theyre right they can! In the future I think entrepreneurship is going to become even more widespread than it is today. More and more people are realising the way to get ahead in the business world is to get out there, be brave and make things happen.
During Bransons interview with Vikas Shah, featured on the Thought Economics blog, he was also keen to talk about the role of entrepreneurs in todays modern society. Citing a need for a contribution to the greater good, which he himself ensures is part of the culture of Virgin through the not-for-profit foundation Virgin Unite.
It's my strong belief that those with the power to help should be encouraged to do exactly that: Its important for entrepreneurs to nurture talent, to provide advice and to provide investment where required. Increasingly we are hearing more about how big business needs to play its role in society for the greater good. We all have a role to play and it makes business sense. In fact, consumers demand that business be responsible.
Are you an entrepreneur? If so, what do you think your contribution to society should be? And what changes have you seen to business in your working life? Let us know