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How to run a great company?

by - 15 June


A business is all about the people. Treat people with complete flexibility and they will give a hundred percent back. It is what makes a a really good company stand out from a fairly dull company.
Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson knows how to run a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate and have fun at it. He shared some of his business insights on a recent event in Bulgaria.

You start small as an entrepreneur. I started as a 15-year old, with no money, trying to campaign against the Vietnamese war which I thought was an unjust war. And I decided to start a little magazine to campaign against it but I had a purpose. People liked the magazine, people liked the purpose, people bought the magazine. I loved music and that moved on to starting Virgin and signing bands that nobody else would want to sign. And all the time you're learning and learning and you're able to sort of set your sights a bit higher as you learn more. And then ultimately - the skies are no longer the limit - you can go to space.
So being an entrepreneur it's a long-learning process. But if you could run one business I really think you can run almost any business well. A business is all about the people and it's all about your people skills. And I mean the horrible TV programs that come out of America like "The Apprentice" which is all about sacking people which seems to be continuing in a White House somewhere in the world. Anyway, that is not the way to run a business and sacking somebody should be the absolute last thing you do. You should do everything you can - don't sack your brothers or sisters, you don't sack your children. If they're not working well in one part of the business, you try to move them into a different part of the business, and generally you'll always find a role for people.
At Virgin we think the way we treat our people. If somebody wants to take a holiday, they can take holiday, they don't have to ask if they want to go away for two months. They can go away for two months Sabbatical if they want. Or if it is a birthday of a friend. Just treat people with complete flexibility and they will give a hundred percent back. If they want to work at home, why should they have to work in an office? If they want to work at home on Fridays and Mondays, let them do so. If they want to work part-time, they can do so, if they want to job share, let them do so.
I mean that flexibility is so important. It is what makes a a really good company stand out from a fairly dull company. And most of our time is spent of work and work should be fun.

More insight on what it takes to be a great leader here 

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