The Start-Up of You may have been the best and most interesting book of the year, but the best of the summer is “Like a Virgin – things they won’t teach you in business school” by Sir. Richard Branson. The man behind Virgin, one of the most successful brand ever invented, and the Virgin companies.
“Like a Virgin” was published at the beginning of this outstanding summer, a period in which every Entrepreneur can take some time off, read a book and think out of the schemes. This was probably the intent of Richard Branson, who decided to release the book in this wonderful period.
The second title of this book says that it is going to teach us things that no one will never teach us in business school. That is probably true, since this book is built on what Richard Branson has experienced over forty years as Virgin CEO. With this book, he, as many other entrepreneurs, has underlined once more the fact that in some cases the experience you make on the field is a way better than what you learn at the university.
“Like a Virgin” is not a narrative book or a for dummies one; it is a set of advices and tips that Branson has been able to collect over the years. We can define it more likely to be an Entrepreneurship bible. Chapter by chapter we discover new things about how to drive a company as a CEO and what the dos and don’ts are.
Likewise we find extremely useful tips about how to start our own ventures and how to build a brand. In fact Richard Branson, by choosing the name Virgin, was one of the first Entrepreneurs to point out the importance of branding in our modern market. Thanks to his own skills he has used the same brand in several different companies without any problem.
He was able to do this because at some point the name “Virgin” was associated with the idea of good quality and the perfect match between staff and costumers. If you give to your costumers a great service, they will come back even if the company does different things, because the important factor is the brand, in this case “Virgin”. At some point, when the Virgin myth is spread all over the world, you can use it whenever and wherever you want.
This is what Richard Branson did. As he says in “Like a Virgin”, although the Virgin Group is huge, the way every single company is driven is pratically the same. With the idea of leaving free the executives, to let the stream of thoughts go and to build a company in which the WE is predominant, he has been able to create a group made of 55k individuals.
The Virgin group, nowadays, is immense and has revenues up to 25B$. It was not born with the aim to conquer the entire world, but with the wish to do what branson loved. By opening a first magazine and a record lebel, giving to the people a great space to listen to music before buying it, the english Entrepreneur was not following a dream, but was just doing what he loved. This is another lesson that Branson is trying to teach us, “do what you love and keep going”. At the end you will figure out that what you did was outstanding.
Further Richard Branson in “Like a Virgin” does a deep analysis of its first days. Explaining how difficult could be the proccess of pitching a VC and giving equity to other people. For this reason he was reliant to give up his own stake of the company, with the result that he tried to pitch his own relatives in order to get the right loans to develop what he wanted in depth.
Entrepreneurship is one of the complex areas of our capitalistic system. People build, grow, fail and go forward. However as Richard Branson reminds us, we should never forget the “A-B-C-D” rule. At the end of every project and at the beginning we must Always Be Connecting Dots. If you connect the dots, you will be able to see the picture from a wider position and everything will be clearer than before.
In this book we find a 62 years old man who has experienced everything in Entrepreneurship, from being the self made man to becoming the CEO of one of the most famous companies in the world. “Like a Virgin” is not just a book, but a different way to see the world from Branson’s eyes. Although we don’t know him, with just three hundred pages he can give us the best mentorship we have ever received.