OPINION!plus Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson on employer branding & entrepreneurial skills: "Good employees want to work in great companies"

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is a British entrepreneur, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group. As part of the last bits and Pretzels he talked about entrepreneurial characteristics and good employer branding.

Sir Richard Branson, born 1950 in London, founded 1970 his first Companys Virgin Records, followed in 1972 Foundation Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, later other companies such as Virgin Sun Airlines joined. The total turnover of the Virgin Group in 2002 was £4 billion, Forbes magazine credits Branson with one assets $5 billion listed as a billionaire. In December 2009 he introduced the SpaceShipTwo, a space plane for private short trips into space. Richard Branson is also committed to the Climate protection, his Virgin Healthcare Foundation advocates for and against AIDS Advertising of tobacco companies in sports. For his achievements as an entrepreneur, Branson was made a Knight Bachelor in December 1999 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. An overview of his positions, which he spoke about at Bits and Pretzels.

What qualities should a good entrepreneur bring?

What a good one Business-Idea is the desire to save the lives of others People to improve. And that's what drives good entrepreneurs: the desire to do things better.

I developed most of my ideas out of personal frustration - Virgin Airlines, for example, was born when I got stuck in Puerto Rico en route to British Virgin Airlines. The next day I called Boing and asked if they used planes for me merchandise could.

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Later we offered flights to Alaska with Virgin America, which was a full Success were. In doing so, I had found for myself that the existing flights to Alaska were a horrible experience - and we just wanted to make it better.

How important are role models? And how important is the environment?

Very important. 50 years ago when I started there were only two entrepreneurs in the UK - myself and Anita Rodick, the Bodyshop founder. Today G Great Britain and also Germany are two of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world Welt.

Do you have to start today in Silicon Valley?

mine Opinions according to you can start up wherever you want today – the modern one Communication allow it. However, it helps to start with a hub with other entrepreneurs.

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London or Berlin or Munich have such hubs - so you do not necessarily have to start in the Valley, but just as well in Europe. It definitely helps when entrepreneurs support each other.

What else matters if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur?

On the attitude. A good entrepreneur should surround himself with people who are better than him and give them the opportunity to make mistakes. You should calculate about two years to set up your business, then you have to find someone who can do it better or just as well as you - and dismiss yourself. Just fire yourself. Yeah I like it. You should not always think that you can do anything better.

However: If someone's own Company takes over, you have to for sure imagine that he cares about the Employees caring and motivating them. In general, as an entrepreneur, it is important nice to be with other people. Life is much more fun when you are a good motivator. If you're not good with people, find someone who is. Otherwise the company will go bankrupt.

Make mistakes, failures - a philosophy that is increasingly prevailing in Germany. How important is that for entrepreneurs?

Errors are very important for personal development as well as for the company. One can hardly be successful if one does not always risk something new and pushes into unknown areas. There are mistakes.

For example, we really thought we could force Coca Cola to his knees with Virgin Cola, which was really stupid. On British Airways, on the other hand, it worked to make them compete even though they were much bigger than us. The service of Virgin Airlines was simply better than British Airways, so they could not defeat us.

How can such a David function against Golliath number?

If a smaller company tries to assert itself as a giant in the market, it can only do so Humour and guerrilla marketing. For example, back then we flew over the Super Bowl in our airship. NBC didn't want to film us because we didn't pay for it. But we had a banner that said "NBC cameramen are the best looking men in America" ​​- that's what got us on TV.

Also, today entrepreneurs should think about how they can make the world a better place. Good entrepreneurs must be philanthropists. As an example, I can think of how to deal with drug addicts, who are criminalized in many countries, which is a lot Problems caused.

As a business leaders one should take a closer look, for example at the countries that do things differently, such as Portugal or Germany, that work with methadone substitutes. The drug addicts are treated like sick people here, not like criminals, that's worth emulating.

Is not it difficult to make other people think socially?

No, because entrepreneurs have always understood that they have to do something: They see problems differently than politicians and help more efficiently. I think countries should be run by entrepreneurs.

Only Donald Trump is a negative example. I met him years ago at a dinner and thought back then: Something is wrong with this man.

Why do more and more companies think about it?

More and more companies are thinking differently because, for example, they find that the success of their employees is also decisive and important for their employees.

And good employees want to work in great companies. This is precisely why it helps to work for other people. In the end, a classic employer branding theme.

The best example of this is Germany during the refugee crisis: its cosmopolitanism has given Germany an excellent image worldwide. Qualified people from abroad now want to work here. The alleged Crisis was a complete success for Germany as a business location.

How important are personal relationships for entrepreneurs?

Not everyone has the happiness to live in a working relationship, 50% of marriages are divorced. But it's pure magic when it works.

I've been with mine for 40 years now Ms. Married and she is the exact opposite of me - despite all my enthusiasm for my work, she always brings me back to earth.

Missed Options?

I should have bought Ryanair back when I had the opportunity. And cruise ships, they really do Fun. I've dreamed of cruise ships for 30 years. We are currently working on the Implementation with Virgin Cruises.

And we are working on Virgin Galactic, the first commercial spaceflight: we want people to travel the 200.000 dollars for the journey of their lives and fly them into space.

How dangerous is this project?

Yes, we had setbacks like this accident several years ago. Such situations have to be analyzed and evaluated.

I will also wait until the space flight is safe enough and leave the tests to the test pilots. I've had so much life in my life.

Where does this enthusiasm for the conquest of space come from?

If you ask people, 9 out of 10 would like to go to space travel. So the interest is there and we also have the theoretical skills to do so. That's probably why Jeff Bezos and Elon work alongside me Musk on space projects.

At some point we will fly people around the earth. The mission to Mars will succeed someday, but it will take a while.

But space also has some important ones for very earthly things Significance: The Internet expansion, for example. I just noticed in Italy, for example, how bad it is everywhere Internet is. Today everyone, even in remote areas, needs wireless, fast internet connections. We have to work on that.

Fast Internet worldwide - how should this be technically implemented?

Virgin Galactic is also working to expand the satelliteTechnology to expand We want to bring satellites into space and thus enable internet even in the most remote corners.

I do not believe in balloons, but I'm not a big balloon fan either, they're too unpredictable. I remember that my own balloon flight, where I was to land in the USA and came out in Antarctica. I would rather argue for gigantic drones.

How far is the development of supersonic aircraft?

We're working to make flights faster, so you can fly from Europe to Australia in 6 hours, for example. However, there are still many technical problems to solve, I can not promise anything.

What should female founders consider?

I believe there is no difference between men and women as regards foundation. Crucial is a good idea.

Whether it is a man or a woman: It is important to keep up with the defeats and learn from his mistakes. I just recently had a bad bike accident and now I cycle again the 2000 KM. At all, people should enjoy their free time and have fun.

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