Richard Branson: why you should never go solo in business

While many of us like to think we could one day wake up with the bit between our teeth, go it alone and change the world, the reality is that nobody ever achieved anything without some help along the way…

Richard Branson knows this all too well, having set up successful companies in numerous industries he has had to rely on some talented and gifted teams along the way. “Many people think that an entrepreneur is someone who operates alone, overcoming challenges and bringing his idea to market through sheer force of personality. This is completely inaccurate. Few entrepreneurs - scratch that: almost no one - ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate,” explains the Virgin Founder in a recent blog.

“Finding ways to meet with people in the real world and build business relationships is becoming ever more important in the digital age. While in some industries it’s possible for employees to limit their communications to email and, if they wish, avoid interacting with colleagues (and their managers), that’s not possible for entrepreneurs, since relationships built on trust are vital to doing business.”

Almost no one ever achieved anything worthwhile without help. To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.

The importance of a team cannot be underestimated, this point is perfectly encapsulated when we see the world’s most recognised and talented individuals address audiences. An actor accepting an Oscar, a tennis player speaking to the crowds after a tournament, a politician reflecting on an election result, the one common theme that links each and every speech is the thanks they will give to their teams. Business is no different.

“Steve Jobs, the entrepreneur I most admire, is remembered as a talented maverick and a loner, but that’s simply wrong. The Apple co-founder turned his personal vision into reality with the help of trusted, talented teams. How did he and his people come up with their ideas and solve the technological and design problems they encountered as they worked on Apple products? By spending time together. As Steve said to his biographer Walter Isaacson: ‘Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say 'Wow,' and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas’.” Writes Branson.

“This is part of the reason why communities of entrepreneurs can turn into creative hubs. Look at Silicon Valley in California, BoxPark in London and other areas where like-minded people have banded together. Technology allows us to connect at the click of a button, but companies will still pay premiums to be near their competitors and others working in the same industry. When you are thinking about launching a start-up, you should always look at whether setting up in one of your industry’s creative hubs would be a good choice.”

Have you got any tips to share on how to build the perfect team and meet the right people? Let us know below…


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