Archive for September, 2014

Success Tips From Richard Branson – Part 2

The customer is always right, most of the time.

The customer is always right… unless they’re wrong. After all, they’re only human too. Your customers’ opinions are important, but “you should not build your customer service system on the premise that your organisation will never question the whims of your clients,” says Branson.

Branson warns that many entrepreneurs think if they provide ‘the-customer-is-always-right’ service that it will improve their businesses. This is only sometimes true. Beware not to damage relationships with customers or staff with your customer service policies.

Define your brand.

When it comes to defining your brand, Branson advises entrepreneurs to do the opposite of what he did with Virgin, which is spreading out all over the place. And while it’s true that Virgin branches into many different industries, Branson says the company is actually quite focused on one thing: “finding new ways to help people have a good time.”

Stick to what you know. Underpromise and overdeliver. Because if you don’t define your brand, your competitors will.

Explore uncharted territory.

Branson compares exploring new territory in business to exploring new territory in science or geography. “We will find new species and better understand the make-up of the deep-level waters,” he says.

Business translation: There are still many things out there that haven’t been discovered, invented, achieved. Exploring little- or uncharted areas can spark new ideas and innovations.

Beware the “us vs. them” environment.

A workplace should be one in which the boss and his or her employees communicate well and work together toward the same goal. “If employees aren’t associating themselves with their company by using ‘we’, it is a sign that people up and down the chain of command aren’t communicating,” says Branson.
If you think there might be discrepancies or tension between employees and management, Branson advises to check with the middle management first to try to uncover the source of the problem and address it head-on.

Build a corporate comfort zone.

Employees must feel free and encouraged to openly express themselves without rigid confines so they can do better work and make good, impactful decisions.

“This may sound like a truism,” begins Branson, “But it has to be said: It takes an engaged, motivated and committed workforce to deliver a first-class product or service and build a successful, sustainable enterprise.”

Not everyone is suited to be CEO.

A manager needs to be someone who “brings out the best in people,” someone who communicates well with others and helps an employee learn from a mistake instead of criticizing them for it.

Not everyone does this well, and that’s okay. The founder can but doesn’t have to be the CEO; if the fit isn’t right, he or she should know when the role is meant for someone else.

And, just like last week, we think one more success tip that Mr. Branson should have added is that to boost the chances of success for your business base it at Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch.

Success Tips From Richard Branson

Richard Branson founded Virgin in 1970 at the age of 20, and he hasn’t looked back.

He’s the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies in eight different industries — and he did it all without a degree in business.
“Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been,” he writes in his new book,

    Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.

This week we’ll list 6 of his top tips from that book. We’ll list six more over the next two weeks.

Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it.

Running a business takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and caffeine). But at the end of the day, you should be building something you will be proud of.
Branson says, “When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn’t set out to build a business empire … For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.”

Be visible.

Branson received some timeless advice when building Virgin Airlines from Sir Freddie Laker, a British airline “tycoon.”
“Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages,” said Laker. “You are going to have to get out there and sell yourself. Make a fool of yourself, whatever it takes. Otherwise you won’t survive”.

Branson always makes a point of traveling often and meeting as many people as he can. This, he says, is how he came by some of the best suggestions and ideas for his business.

Choose your name wisely.

The unique name and brand that Virgin employs is one of the things that has made the company a success. Branson makes sure that the name ‘Virgin’ represents added value, improved service, and a fresh, sexy approach.

Branson says that he is asked all the time about the origin of the Virgin name, back when Virgin was just starting. “One night, I was chatting with a group of sixteen-year-old girls over a few drinks about a name for the record store,” he says. “A bunch of ideas were bounced around, then, as we were all new to business, someone suggested Virgin. It smacked of new and fresh and at the time the word was still slightly risqué, so, thinking it would be an attention-grabber, we went with it.”

You can’t run a business without taking risks.

Branson thinks of one of his favorite sayings when advising about taking business risks: “‘The brave may not live forever—but the cautious do not live at all!’”
Every business involves risks. Be prepared to get knocked down, says Branson, but success rarely comes from playing it safe. You may fail, but Branson also dares to point out that “there’s no such thing as a total failure.”

The first impression is everything. So is the second.

The first impression you make on customers will probably be when you acquire them. The first impression is extremely important, says Branson, but the second is equally as important.
The second time a customer usually contacts Virgin, it’s because he or she is having problems with the product or service. How you present yourself and your brand in these situations says a lot about how your brand maintains good customer relationships and handles obstacles.

Perfection is unattainable.

“There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something,” says Branson. “When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it’, most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be laboring furiously to better their work!”

For this reason, Branson never gives anyone a 100% perfect review of their work. He believes that no matter how “brilliantly conceived” something is, there is always room for improvement.

One final tip that may or may not be attributable to Sir Richard Branson is that to be successful base your business at Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch!

Why Videoconferencing Is For You

In many different situations a live video conference is much more effective than a phone call or web conference. For example, you may need to visually demo a new product with a sales team that is spread out over many states or even countries. Or maybe you need to troubleshoot an issue with a client which requires sharing information visually. Literally seeing what you are discussing is far more effective and meaningful than other methods short of actually being there. Listed below are the some of the top benefits of video conferencing.

Reduced Travel Costs

The ability to be in several places at once without leaving an office is a proven driver of business productivity. Though face-to-face interactions with your customers, partners and colleagues are always important the huge leaps in quality, availability, and ease-of-use make videoconferencing the next best thing. When you calculate the number of trips taken annually and determine the associated costs (transportation to and from the airport, the cost of plane tickets, meals, time lost in travel, etc.) it is clear why videoconferencing is such an attractive alternative.

Increased Productivity among your Customers and Teams

Today it’s not unusual to have satellite offices across the country, or even the world. Most methods of communication will be limited to phone calls, email, or instant messages. The lack of face-to-face communication can cause misunderstandings within your teams. When video is implemented, participants are more likely to stay alert and focused on what is being discussed. As a result, projects are completed faster, productivity increases, and participants feel more in synch with each other and the message you want to convey.

Improves Communication & Reinforce Relationships

During a videoconference you can see the facial expressions and body language of conference participants, leading to faster and more effective collaboration. You can actually discern how your message is being received. These are both important aspects of communication that are lost with a basic telephone call.

Competitive Advantage

There is no benefit for being second in bringing new products or ideas to market, and video communication creates and maintains competitive advantage for your business. Teams that communicate through video, will share knowledge faster and will be more informed, which reduces the time required to bring a new product or service to market. Support departments using videoconferencing can establish more personal relationships with their customers, which encourages a much deeper loyalty than just speaking on a phone. You can accomplish in less than an hour, what it takes your competition to do in a week via shipping the product for review.

Executive Suites at Lakewood Ranch is your preeminent provider of videoconference service in the Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch area. Be there without the hassles or expense of actually being there. For more information contact us today!