Richard Branson is one of the most successful business tycoons in the world. He owns over 150 companies and is worth over $3 billion. He is also a daredevil who loves all kinds of adventures.
Richard Branson was born in 1950 in the country of Surrey in England. He is the oldest of three children. Richard had a happy childhood. He was vey close to his mother and she always encouraged him to do his best. But that was sometimes hard for Richard. He had very bad eyesight and also had a reading problem. This made school very difficult for him. He also hated school rules and regulations.
At the age of 17, Richard decided to start his own student newspaper. It was for students everywhere and it had articles written by rock stars, celebrities, politicians and businesspeople. He published the first issue in January 1968. The magazine was a big success. Two years later, he started his mail order record company called Virgin Mail.
In 1973, Branson started Virgin Records. It became the largest independent record company in England. Virgin Records recorded bands and singers such as the Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, and Janet Jackson. By 1983, Branson owned 50 different companies. In 1984, he started an international airline with one borrowed plane. The airline, Virgin Atlantic Airways, eventually grew into the world''s third largest transatlantic airline.
In 1992, Branson sold his Virgin Music Group for almost $1 billion. By 1999, the Virgin empire was huge. Branson owned 150 companies with 24,000 employees. By then , he had two airlines, a travel business, radio stations, hotels, recording studios, entertainment companies, restaurants, movie theatres, stores and a publishing company, all with the Virgin name. He even bought an island in the Caribbean and spent $20 billion on trees and plants, a beautiful ten-bedroom house, and two guest houses. Then, he rented the island to some of the most famous people in the world, such as the late Princess Diana, director Steven Spielberg, actor Mel Gibson, and television producer and celebrity Oprah Winfrey. They paid $20,000 a night to stay there! The Virgin empire was worth about $3 billion and was the largest privately owned business in England.
People are amazed by Richard Branson. He has no formal training or schooling in business and does not know how to use a computer. He goes against all the established rules. Branson runs his business empire from his home in London. There is no central office or board of directors who make important decisions. The one thing that all the companies have in common is that they all put their employees first and give them a pleasant place to work. He writes a letter once a month to all his employees to let them know what is happening in his companies. He also invites them to call or write to him with their problems and ideas.
Richard Branson is not afraid to do wild and bizarre things, especially if it means publicity for one of his new businesses. Branson''s adventurous nature has always led him to take risks in business. But that has never been enough excitement for him. It is hard to imagine what Branson will think of next, both as a businessman and a daredevil. When someone recently asked him about the future of his travel empire, he replied, "Virgin Space". Who knows? If anyone will fly people around space, it will certainly be Richard Branson.