Richard Branson: 20 brilliant quotes on how to achieve professional success

Sir Richard Branson

Within his book, The Virgin Way, Richard Branson shares a letter written by his mother, Eve Branson. He says he was a child full of curiosity, determination and a thirst for exploration, and in his mother’s words, “utterly determined to do his own thing”. Most parents would want to protect their child from the hurt that’s associated with failure, but Richard Branson’s parents gave him the scope to explore his crazy business ideas. Many ended in disaster, but he learnt by his mistakes. His parents were there to help him pick up the pieces, and encourage him to soldier on. It turned out these were just “the growing pains of a budding entrepreneur”.

So many of us have the potential for business success, but we are afraid of failure. Particularly when we have a family to support, we are averse to taking big risks, and instead choose to play it safe. But this can completely remove the pleasure and ambition achievable through our work, and as Richard Branson shares, “I am where I am today because I have been allowed to fail. Learning from failure builds character, and teaches us so much more than not trying ever will.”

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If you’ve become bogged down in the drudgery of business, have found your career stagnate, or are desperate for a new challenge, Richard Branson is an incredible source of business success quotes and learning. His Facebook page and blog are well worth following for the content and advice that he shares.

Here we’ve compiled 20 of our favourite Richard Branson quotes, on the topic of business success (I had to include quote number 12, as it makes me smile every time I read it). We hope some resonate with you, and inspire you to set new business goals and ambitions as we approach the end of 2015.

  1. “Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
  1. “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.”
  1. “Entrepreneurial business favours the open mind. It favours people whose optimism drives them to prepare for many possible futures, pretty much purely for the joy of doing so.”
  1. “It’s OK not to know how to do everything. Bring people on board whose strengths play to your weaknesses.”
  1. “Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you.”
  1. “Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or what’s the fastest way to do it…think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it.”
  1. “Chance favours the prepared mind. The more you practice, the luckier you become.”
  1. “Listen. Take the best. Leave the rest.”
  1. “You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business.”
  1. “I believe that drudgery and clock-watching are a terrible betrayal of that universal, inborn entrepreneurial spirit.”
  1. “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
  1. “My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost.”
  1. “Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.”
  1. “Above all, you want to create something you’re proud of. This has always been my philosophy of business. I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off not doing it.”
  1. “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
  1. “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”
  1. “The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit.”
  1. “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had–every day I’m learning something new.”
  1. “I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn’t really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.”
  1. “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

Do you have a famous business quote, either by Richard Branson or someone else, which you to turn to for inspiration? We would love to hear it below…

Richard Branson Top Tips for Success

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  • Indicia

    “The human mind is like a parachute. It works best when it’s open” – Frank Zappa (musician).

    Something simple but massively important to consider in both business and life.

    Thanks for collating the RB quotes. Nice motivation for the morning. He epitomises the oft told mantra of ‘people who have failed are more successful’, especially as he’s someone who evidently learns from any mistakes and what’s happened in the past. Nice.

    Thanks, Steve.

    • Gemma Falconer

      I like that quote as well Steve, thanks for sharing. Glad you liked the post – can’t beat a bit of advice from Richard Branson :)

  • Kerry Dailey

    Thank you for sharing. I always appreciate insights in to the minds of those who make things better in the world. However, I think that there is a more interesting discussion here. The quotes he lists are in fact simple, and many great entrepreneurs have said some similar things. I wonder if they are simple, and perhaps easy to implement, why don’t more people live by those principles? Or, why don’t more people succeed using those principles?

    Clearly not all of us are prepared when opportunity comes knocking. To paraphrase a line from one of the great teen angst movies of all time, Risky Business, saying what the “heck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings you opportunities. Opportunities make your future.

    Tip number 13 is my favorite. People make the world go around…up…or down.

  • Tonytaff

    “If hindsight were foresight, you’d be a billionaire … and so would I”

  • jeremy christophers

    You cannot climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets

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  • Andrea Bush

    “Don’t put your customers first, put your employees first and they take care of your customers.”

  • David Rivlin

    “Here lies a man who knew how to enlist in his service better men than himself.”
    as Andrew Carnegie said he would like written on his gravestone.


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