For as long as I can remember I have been a people person because after all, people are what make the world go round. So when I left University and made my way into the big wide working world, I soon realised that people are the real assets in any company; get your people right and the rest will follow, is something I honestly believe.
This quite quickly led me to the mantras and musings of Sir Richard Branson, one of the best entrepreneurs of our time. And why do I love him so much? Because he starts with people.
Some of my favourite business quotes are his, the way he runs the multiple streams of Virgin are admirable and on top of this he appears to do a lot for the environment, charity and is very open about his humble beginnings. The business he runs is openly people first, he promotes culture, wellbeing, training and rewards, on top of being a very successful and well-known brand – what is there not to love?
And this way of thinking isn’t all about fluffy sayings and culture led business; it does directly equate to cold hard cash and lots of it. Richard Branson himself is worth 20 times more than our very own Queen at nearly $5 billion and the Virgin brand is worth $20 billion, not bad for a boy that was told on his last day of school that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. He clearly chose the latter.
So, why do I think we should all be Virgins?
This is my favourite Richard Branson quote and something I have tried very hard to instill at Neo PR. Your employees are your biggest asset, if they are happy and feel valued they will work hard, show loyalty to the business and above all provide the best service to your clients. Don’t underestimate the power of a happy team on your business growth either, they are a fundamental part of retaining and growing your bottom line.
Pencils have rubbers on the end for a reason. People make mistakes and actually that’s fine. Sometimes you learn more from your failings than you do from your successes and this should be celebrated in business. This follows on nicely to another great quote, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Growing and mentoring people is the best bit about my job. It is the responsibility of an employer to keep an employee challenged, excited and continue to grow them, not only within their role but also on a personal level. Training is key, but also confidence building, guidance and mentoring are all fundamental aspects of creating a stand out workforce. By doing this you will inevitably create more valuable employees, which will make them attractive to headhunters and other companies, but if you also treat your employees well and make them feel valued, then many of them will show you loyalty in return and stick around.
If you take a step back from the day to day and look out over your business. Who really runs it? Who truly makes it a success? The answer shouldn’t be you, it should be your team. Sure, everyone needs a good leader and that is hugely important, but actually listening to what your team is saying will provide you with some invaluable insights that will aid business success. One thing I learnt very early on in business was to never say you are too busy to talk to someone. Even if you are in the middle of the most pressing thing, make that person feel that they can have your undivided attention. You might need to ask them to wait 30 minutes so that you can give them the attention they need, but never say no. If they are asking to talk to you, it’s because they feel they have something to say that is worth listening to.
And a final thought, “Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.”
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