I was recently in Morocco having a chat with a taxi driver who said “you made money, not money made you”.
Humbled, I thought he also made a really interesting point. I have never chased money for money’s sake and I don’t think it is the most important thing when starting a business.
Rather, I have always believed that if you go into business to improve a product or a service and have a positive impact on people’s lives then success and money will follow. At Virgin, we’re in the business of changing business for good.
It is purpose, passion and drive that will take you over the finish line, not bundles of money. If you’re really interested in something, have done your research and have solid values then you have a great shot at success.
Changing business for good was my main motivation to start three airlines, a bank, and even a spaceline. When we started Virgin Atlantic we wanted to make it more special than the other airlines – for example, we were the first to offer in-flight entertainment as standard and an on-board bar.
I’ve always picked industries that are ripe for disruption as usually the status quo doesn’t benefit the consumer. Virgin Money has been making Everyone Better Off for 10 years – aiming to get the balance right so that we: offer good value to our customers; treat our team well; make a positive contribution to society; build positive relationships with our partners; and deliver sustainable profits to our shareholders
Virgin is a purpose-led brand and this extends to all our Virgin companies and also the businesses we invest in and the non-profit projects we are a part of.
While in Morocco, I was staying at Virgin Limited Edition’s property Kasbah Tamadot, where the Eve Branson Foundation is helping the Berber community thrive. It was great to hear how some of the girls have taken up knitting and are crafting better futures for themselves by creating artisanal products.
It’s important to give back and we support many different initiatives through our foundation Virgin Unite. If money is your only motive, then you shouldn’t launch a company at all.