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What’s in Richard Branson’s notebook?

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In the piece, published in Today Online, Branson claims the only difference between “merely satisfactory delivery” and “great delivery” is attention to detail. He offers the following nuggets of advice to entrepreneurs growing a business:

  • Always keep in mind your company’s core business values, the medium-term strategic considerations and where the industry is headed in the long term.
  • Sample your business products as often as possible.
  • Don’t wait for someone else to solve problems. Do it yourself.
  • Hand out your email address and phone number to every single member of staff so they can contact you immediately if they need you.
  • Befriend your enemies. If you do fall out with a partner, colleague or competitor, call that person a year later and take them out to dinner.

But the best bit of the article is the insight into Branson’s notebook entries during the early days of Virgin Atlantic.

On one flight, he jotted down the following:

Dirty carpets. Fluff.

Areas around bow dirty.

Equipment: Stainless steel, grotty.

Choice of menu disappointing – back from Miami, prawns then lobster (as a main course) in upper class.

Chicken curry very bland.

Chicken should be cut in chunks.

Rice pretty dry.

No stilton available on cheeseboard.

What’s most revealing is this final note:

Staff desperate for someone to listen. Make sure flight staff reports are actioned IMMEDIATELY.

Branson says he still carries a notebook with him everywhere he goes (what, no iPhone/Blackberry? The man is old-school). We’d love to check out his scribblings on his latest venture Virgin Hotels – announced last September, with the first hotel due to be built in New Mexico overlooking the Virgin Galactic Spaceport.

It got us thinking: how many of you have kept the notes from your first few years in business? And are you still grappling with the same kind of problems? Let us know.

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