One of the most quoted entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson is the mastermind behind the Virgin Group and a business role model for many across the world. He is a business sensation, investor, author and philanthropist. His Virgin Group has control of over four hundred companies.
Born in 1950, Sir Richard Branson was not a success in school and dropped out at the age of sixteen. Although at that moment it may have been perceived as a career-ending decision, it was the one which ultimately led to the inception of Virgin Records.
As a student, he had trouble fitting in schools, struggling with dyslexia, transferring out of the all-boys Scaitcliffe School to a boarding school in Buckinghamshire. Following his drop-out from school, he launched a publication ran by students which sold eight thousand dollars’ worth of advertising in its first edition, disseminating over 50,000 copies.
He first started off his entrepreneurial career in the music industry, after which he expanded into other sectors, particularly space tourism, which made him a billionaire. He is renowned for his sense of adventure and sporting achievements.
To fund his magazine, he thought about setting a record company in 1969. The company did not perform exceptionally well, but it was enough for him to help fund his business venture, with another shop in Oxford Street, following shortly, which then extended into a recording studio in Oxfordshire.
The Virgin Records label made significant inroads in the music scene, with Mike Oldfield recording his single “Tubular Bells” which was a hit. Branson used this success to sign other musical groups such as the Sex Pistols, Culture Club, Rolling Stones and Genesis, which would establish Virgin Music as one of the top record companies worldwide.
He further established his business footprint by diversifying. Such businesses include the Voyager Group, Virgin Atlantic and a number of Virgin Megastores. With that said, there were also some failures that Branson had to contend with, such as having to sell his record company following financial difficulties. Highly determined to remain in the music industry, he founded Virgin Radio and launched a second record company, onboarding artists such as Powder Finger and Tom Jones. The Virgin Group expanded its business internationally, reaching thirty-five countries with around seventy-thousand employees. His business expansion included a train company, luxury game preserve, mobile phone company and a space tourism organisation, called Virgin Galactic.
In 2009 he was listed in Forbes’ World Billionaires list with two and a half billion dollars, with assets including two private islands. Recently Branson has allocated significant focus on his space-tourism venture. Incredible progress has been made and by April 2013, over five hundred people booked tickets to ride on the Virgin Galactic spaceship.
Branson is also involved in the cruise line business.
On a more personal aspect, Sir Richard Branson is married to his second wife, with whom he shares two children. He spends a lot of time in his residence on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, electing to stay there during the Hurricane Irma storm, which had severely impacted the island in September 2017.