Lessons from Branson’s “Business Stripped Bare”

h/t to 37Signals for passing along Derek Sivers’ notes on “Business Stripped Bare” by Richard Branson. Some that resonated with me:

Money’s only interesting for what it lets you do.

I had never been interested in being “in business”. I’ve been interested in creating things.

Business is not about formality, or winning, or the bottom line, or profit, or trade, or commerce, or any of the things the business books tell you it’s about. Business is what concerns us. If you care about something enough to do something about it, you’re in business.

Would I have been happy without my successes in business? I’d like to think so. But again, it depends on what you mean by business. Would I have been happy had I not found concerns to absorb me and fascinate me and engage me every minute of my life? No, absolutely not, I’d be as miserable as sin.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to find a manager. Then you should move on, enjoy yourself and then set up your next enterprise.

The first law of entrepreneurial business: there is no reverse gear. No one in business can unmake anything, any more than a band can unmake a song.

Inspire your people to think like entrepreneurs, and whatever you do, treat them like adults. The hardest taskmaster of all is a person’s own conscience, so the more responsibility you give people, the better they will work for you.

Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you. They are there to make things easier. For me, business is a ‘gut feeling’, and if it ever ceased to be so, I think I would give it up tomorrow. By ‘gut feeling’, I mean that I believe I’ve developed a natural aptitude, tempered by huge amounts of experience, that tends to point me in the right direction.

Innovation is what you get when you capitalise on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.

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