Richard Branson's Facebook Chat During Breakfast
Lessons from Richard Branson on Facebook
Richard Branson engaged with his audience in a direct way. This was a smart move. It also taught valuable lessons about business.
The billionaire entrepreneur opened up Facebook during breakfast, and wrote to his many Facebook friends. He responded to questions from aspiring entrepreneurs and independent creative.
This was a PR tactic during the launch of his new book, The Virgin Way. And it is a great idea. Gone are the days of talking to or at audiences. Individuals and brands now need to listen to audiences, and interact with them.
The entire conversation can be read at a photo of Richard. This down-to-earth grandfather is reading a newspaper, eating boiled eggs, and a glass of green juice with a glass of water. Richard adds a description of his breaky, “Anyway, vegetable smoothie, a berry smoothie and I suspect I might ruin the healthy food with a fry up!” So we now know what Richard has for breakfast. More philosophical lessons were learned.
Richard shared valuable business insights in the conversation. Here are some of his comments:
1. Richard Branson on Consumers' Benefits and Seizing the Day:
There's no point in starting a business unless it's going to make a positive difference - basically that's what a business is. Once they've come up with that unique idea then they've got to find people who 100% believe in what they are doing and surround themselves with those people. Then ultimately, screw it, just get on and do it!
Products need to help people. Benefits could be emotive, utilitarian, financial, practical, and more. You never know where people will need help, and where it can be capitalized. Foods as nice treats, clothes which make people feel beautiful, inspirational messages, all these are important. Listen to people around you. Serve them.
I just adore the famous Virgin phrase, “screw it, let’s do it!” I get wrapped up in doubts. What if an idea fails, struggles, or changes? Procrastination is common too. I dive into a lot of ideas during ‘carpe diem’ moments. Still, sometimes I listen to that conscience in my head, or that doubting friend. The main message is: just do it anyway!
2. Richard Branson on Life Purpose:
If you find yourself in a position to make a positive difference to people's lives, your life will be the poorer for not trying to do so. Most of us are in that position in some way or another.
There are many ways to help people. I enjoy helping charities such as Rotary. Most acquaintances, outside of charity, feel a reluctance towards sacrificing their material resources for others. My main asset, which I enjoy sharing, is my time. I experience great joy in seeing lives change after spending time to help. We do need to look after ourselves, to be able to help others. And all good things should be in moderation. We all have something we can give a little bit.
3. Richard Branson on Goals:
Be yourself. Look for the best attributes of yourself, and then follow those attributes and turn them into dreams. And good luck!
We all have strengths and weaknesses. Nobody in the world is the best at everything. My strength is online communication. Others might not have the knowledge or interest to grow an online presence, so I enjoy helping them with it.
Others’ unique strengths are equally vital. It’s why teams have specialists. I could do something I am terrible at, such as mathematics. But how would that benefit anyone? A team should include someone else, who enjoys and thrives with numbers. Competitive advantage makes sense.
4. Richard Branson on Careers and Age:
You're following your passion - that's what everybody should be doing, whatever age they are. Don't start thinking of yourself as 50 or 60 - just think of yourself as you. Otherwise you'll become old before your time.
This advice is exactly what I need to hear. 2014 was my year of the quarter life crisis. I felt old, at the ancient age of 25. Boxes had been ticked. Bucket lists had been completed. The white picket fence is a distant memory. The 9-5 office life had been successfully done. Independent living was mastered, and no longer a novelty. It was time for something new, something great to contribute to the world. I need a vision of the future. The only person who can act on my future is me. We all need to keep acting on our passions, no matter what stages of life we are at.
It takes a reminder like this, to keep perspective. Did Branson ever decide a student magazine was enough excitement for one lifetime? Did he ever consider retirement when getting older? No. Richard kept wild ideas like space travel; because he felt like it. There is always more for us to contribute, more to experience, more to live.
5. Richard Branson on PR:
Get out there, use yourself to tell your story, if you are doing something you 100% believe in (there is no point doing it if you don't) then you'll have a great story to tell. Be willing to make a fool of yourself, have fun, come up with wonderful, weird, magical ideas to get the press interested in what you are doing - but make sure you make people smile!
Balance is a constant goal. We all should find a balance. Attention should never be made for the sake of it. Do not be an attention seeker for the thrills, the accolades, the adoration. Nothing is ever about you. Nothing is ever about me. Messages are always about the differences our projects can make for other people. Messages are about our flawed experiences, which others can learn or benefit from.
I am always trying something new, simply to get involved in something bigger than myself. Everyone else can too. Wear a tee and cap for R U OK DAY. Wear daffodils for awareness of cancer. Use a microphone, lectern, or just a raw voice to share a message. Wave a hand fan for Chinese New Year. We can all get out there and get involved. Everything is a message. Everything has a butterfly effect.
Final comments on Branson’s conversation:
The world learned a lot from Richard Branson’s Facebook chat over breakfast. Offer unique benefits in your business’ products. Benefit from helping others however you can. Be yourself. Do what you are good at, and passionate about, at any stage of life. Get out there, and bring attention to anything, to benefit people. Thank you, Richard, for all the lessons we learned during your online breakfast conversation.