Business is all about partnerships. Going it alone is a romantic notion, but few, if any, entrepreneurs have ever brought an idea to life without a lot of help.
It’s therefore so important that you surround yourself with the best people possible. Those whose strengths play to your weaknesses, whose attitudes lift you up each and every day, and who share your passion to turn your dream in a reality. And once you do, don’t let them go.
You could say I’m a bit of a collector – I collect experiences and people. And once I’ve found someone that truly shines, I’ll go out of my way to keep them close.
Richard Branson and Holly Branson brunch with Virgin team members
I have been fortunate to have a long run of fantastic assistants over the course of my career. I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I’ve done without them. And I still remain close with them today – so much so that Sue, Nicola, Saskia, Sarah and Louella have all stayed in the Virgin family; working for Virgin Unite, Virgin Management, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic respectively.
It’s unfair to assume that bright stars will stay in the same role forever, which is why we look at the Virgin Group as a family, and encourage our wonderful people to challenge themselves and seek opportunities at other Virgin businesses.
We have exchange programs between our airlines, we’re constantly looking to promote from within, and when we start a new business we always draw on the expertise and experience of people already within the Group. Our principle is simple: train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
Every entrepreneur and business leaders should surround themselves with keepers: people that share their vision and make collaboration easy and effective – if you don’t, you will never see the bigger picture.
Who is your keeper?