Last week saw the second Virgin Atlantic Business is an adventure event take place in Washington, D.C. Streamed live on virgin.com the 90 minute discussion was full of expert advice for anyone looking to grow their business, so what were the panel’s top tips?
Richard Branson’s biggest fear
"I coined the phrase ‘screw it, let’s do it’ and there’s no doubt that can get you into a lot of trouble, but it’s a lot more fun than saying no. My biggest fear in life is saying no and then going onto regret it. So with that in mind I go out to say yes to a lot of things in life."
Sheila Johnson: Watch your double-bottom line
"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."
Donna Harris: Genius is not centralised in any one city
"We need to remember that entrepreneurship is for everyone, not a few. We need entrepreneurs in to create jobs in our economy, every city needs jobs and therefore genius is not centralised in any one city. In the last three years I’ve travelled to Tehran, Nairobi and Cape Town – there are incredibly smart entrepreneurs all over the world who should no longer be told that they have to move to make their idea successful. You can make it work from where you’re from and it can have a great impact on that city."
Kevin Plank: Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets
"Trust in business is something that’s so important to me, it’s built in drops and lost in buckets. It can be with a person we’re interviewing or the brand itself, everyone has to contributing towards the drops that go towards the value of the business and the trust we have with the consumer."
Richard Branson: Good leaders learn to listen
"Being able to listen as a leader is crucial. You see some leaders and all they do is tell people their thoughts. They already know what they think so they don’t need to hear themselves talk, they need to hear what other people have to say. If I’m ever having a meeting with someone then I always have a notepad with me, good ideas come up all the time and you don’t want to forget them."
Donna Harris: Connections are the currency of DC
"Washington, D.C. is a city that operates on who you know, connections are the currency of this city and connections are what entrepreneurs need. That means it’s a networking heavy city and entrepreneurs can use that to their advantage. We’re sitting on one of the richest resources in the world for someone looking to grow their business; embassies, trade groups, policy makers, global leaders, major corporations – it’s all here."