Exclusive Richard Branson tips: Entrepreneurs are only as strong as their network

7 min read

07 August 2017

Real Business has secured seven exclusive Richard Branson tips, in which the Virgin boss has detailed the importance of entrepreneurial networks.

No man is an island. That’s something that becomes clear with these exclusive Richard Branson tips.

The leader has drawn upon his Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica, which was relocated from Montego Bay to Kingston in June, a choice made to make the most of the capital city’s vibrancy.

Without further ado, find out what the man himself had to say with these exclusive Richard Branson tips – seven reasons entrepreneurs are only as strong as their network.

We started up the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 2012 to support budding entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. Five years on, the Branson Centre has seen well over one hundred entrepreneurs come through its doors and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic both work closely with Jamaica and the Caribbean, so it is important that we play our part in the local communities and businesses. That’s why Virgin Holidays is the lead donor to the centre for the next five years.

The Branson Centre is built on a “hybrid approach”, meaning that we connect entrepreneurs with other entrepreneurs around the world.

We help them learn and develop their ideas and processes, with access to a variety of training programmes, so that they can get their businesses off the ground more quickly and with stronger foundations.

Building a robust network is an invaluable stepping stone when starting up a business. This is why I believe that an entrepreneur is only as strong as his or her network.

(1) Entrepreneurs thrive when connected to like-minded people…

Entrepreneurs need like-minded people around them to learn and gain inspiration from. These people are allies and offer support and advice when things don’t go right, which happens frequently when starting out.

At the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, we use various training methods to connect entrepreneurs in the Caribbean with each other and with others around the world so they are getting a broad spectrum of advice. 

For instance, some brilliant creative thinkers come through our doors with a great idea, but they have no experience with finance. We help plug the gaps in their knowledge. 

(2) … But it’s important to connect with non-like-minded people

Those with a similar outlook or journey can help you thrive, but spending time with others where there is no obvious crossover can help you learn. 

Look outside of your sector and industry to see what lessons you can uncover. Learn what processes other industries have in place that work well and let creative ideas spark. 

(3) Technology is useful – but combined with a human touch, it’s exponentially better 

Technology is invaluable for learning and building skills as a start-up company. Yet nothing beats a human connection and the advice of someone who’s been there before to help a budding entrepreneur.

We use one-to-one coaching and mentorship programmes at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship so that everyone who comes through our doors has access to real people and receives truly impactful training. 

(4) A strong network keeps you going when you’re starting out

When you start up a company, your first years are long, tiring and stressful. It takes a lot of mental strength to keep going. It also takes the support of those around you to stop the hard times getting the better of you. 

By surrounding yourself with others who are on the same journey, there will be someone who has been there before to give you practical advice and personal support.

Continue on the next page for the remaining Richard Branson tips, including why you’re never too far along to learn more.

(5) To run a business, you must understand other businesses

Running a business successfully involves looking at the bigger picture and seeing how other businesses are working. Understand what challenges are out there. Think locally and globally. 

Virgin Holidays works closely with the Caribbean, which is why we want to support entrepreneurs there. Working closely with them means we can raise the game of entrepreneurship globally and lead the charge by uniting small business with global companies.  

(6) Sharing your goals with others helps you motivate one another

Seeing your peers’ success and sharing your achievements with them gives you a sense of camaraderie and drives you on. 

At the opening of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Kingston, I met some brilliant businessmen and women and got to try their products. I was inspired by their innovative, creative spirit and appreciated the chance to talk to them about their journeys and share some of my own stories.

(7) No matter what level you are, you never stop learning 

Your learning doesn’t end when you become a managing director; true entrepreneurial spirit comes from a desire to continue to improve and learn. 

It’s this mentality to always strive, learn and evolve that means everyone can take on the world.

If you enjoyed these exclusive Richard Branson tips, see below for the business mogul’s recent guidance on how you can successfully pitch your company to investors, as well as other stories about the billionaire entrepreneur.