I treated business like it was an adventure - this is what I learnt

Virgin Atlantic's Business is an Adventure series celebrates gutsy entrepreneurs disrupting the status quo, embracing global opportunities and doing business differently.

Throughout the tour, which has stopped off in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle and Barbados, Richard Branson has been joined on stage by some of the world’s most prominent business leaders. Each of which has shared their own adventures in business and offered up some of the best advice they’ve learnt along the way.

Here are six of the best pieces of advice our Business is an Adventure entrepreneurs have offered up…

1. Never build a business with the aim of selling it - Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder

Richard Branson has sold his fair share of businesses, however when asked if he thought it was better to set out with the intention of starting a business in order to grow it or sell it, he was very clear that there was only one right answer.

"You shouldn’t start a business simply so you can sell it and make a profit, that’s not the right way to approach it. The people who work for you will feel cheated, they won’t put their heart and soul into it. It’s not a clever way to do business."

2. Watch your double-bottom line - Sheila Johnson, Salamander Hotels & Resorts founder

"Real leaders will watch their company’s double-bottom line, which means giving back to your community and it will make your company much more successful. I feel really strongly about the fact it’s not just having a company, it’s being able to use it to reach out to people and set a positive example.

"Leaders need character and integrity, it can take years to build these up but they can be lost quickly."

3. Never stop fighting for what you believe in - Miguel McKelvey, WeWork co-founder

"If you were accused of murder and you didn’t do it then you would fight forever until you were exonerated, you’d never give up. So when you’re in an industry that you believe needs to be changed then you have to have that same attitude.

"If you’re never going to give up then it doesn’t matter what the competition does, you just need to keep fighting it non-stop until you win and make a positive change."

4. Leadership is all about surrender - Dr. Eudiene Barriteau, Principal at the University of West Indies

"Being a leader requires a lot of surrender, it’s something which many people don’t realise. You need to surrender your ego and your own priorities when you become a leader," explains Dr. Barriteau.

"You are ultimately responsible for all of the good and all of the bad that comes out of your team, so encourage more of the good and get out of the way to allow it to happen."

5. Learn to manage big personalities - Alex Tai, Virgin Group director of special projects

"You have to learn to deal with big personalities, if they’re coming from above or below. Remember you are there to encourage them and get the best out of their skillset. Let them innovate and not stand in their way.

"If you have someone in your team who is a high-performer but has a bad attitude then let them know what the boundaries are but also, why you want them in the team and why exactly they are so valuable."

6. Diversity is key - Sean Rad, Tinder founder

"What’s special about LA is the diversity you have here. When you walk out of the Tinder office and down the street you see people from different backgrounds, different professions - it makes you feel a lot closer to who you’re building these products for.

"For any consumer tech company, or any company for that matter, the better you understand your customers the better decisions you’re going to make. In LA the people in the businesses and the people you socialise with all help to give you a very diverse perspective."

To find out more about the Business is an Adventure series, just click on one of the tour stops below.

Alternatively, check out this interactive map, which features insight from every one of our speakers.


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