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Mike Southon Presents Richard Branson at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress

14th March 2012

Richard Branson greeted hundreds of entrepreneurs and delegates at the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool. The event’s facilitator was Mike Southon, serial entrepreneur and best-selling author.

Branson inspired with some charming insights. The first nugget is on the subject of cashflow: "Entrepreneurs are always worrying about where to get the money to start a business," he says. "We never had any money.  We had to come up with ways of getting the money up front for all the businesses. With the magazine, that meant selling advertising before we printed anything. With the record shops, we started a mail order company, flyering outside concert halls, then we’d go to other record shops and negotiate deals to actually get the stock and hope that we made a profit. "Cashflow is everything," he concludes. "But sometimes you have to imaginative to get it going."

Branson imparted further business lessons: "The most important thing when building a business is the art of delegation. Get people to do your job. By the time I was 19/20 I already found people to run whatever business I’d built up which let me think about the next business. You have to be brave and step aside as often as you can."

He is optimistic about his new banking venture – Virgin recently succeeded in acquiring Northern Rock. "It’s the perfect time to go into banking," he says. "The banks have been discredited and we’ve got a brand that people trust. And we can do it with a little bit more panache."

But you can tell that Branson real business passion is Virgin Galactic. "Hopefully early next year myself and my children will go up into space," he says. "Deep space exploration. Hotels in space. We’ll be able to put satellites in space at a fraction of the cost. We know there’s a big future there."

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