Richard Branson was recently in Zimbabwe for a 2-week visit. He came in in time for part of the Zambezi Valley Walk for Wild Expedition. This nature walk mainly covered Mana Pools and Matusadona National Parks. The expedition had been underway from June the 6th. The Zimbabwe Business Council expressed excitement over Branson’s visit. They cited how his visit would obviously draw global attention to Zimbabwe. Plus they felt he was also going to explore business opportunities in Zimbabwe. The subject worth discussing today though is not that. Rather it is an exploration of some business lessons to draw from Richard Branson’s visit to Zimbabwe.
Who Is Richard Branson?
Richard Branson, full name Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, is the Founder of the Virgin Group. He has a net worth, as of writing this, of US$3.1 billion. His primary residence is Necker Island, an island he purchased in 1978. Over the years, Richard Branson, through his Virgin Group, has owned (or owns) airlines, hotels, record labels, and countless other companies. Let us now look at some of the business lessons from Branson’s recent visit to Zimbabwe:
Simplicity Is The Ultimate Sophistication
Richard Branson flew into Zimbabwe on a Fastjet commercial flight. This is despite the fact that he is a billionaire and has his own airline. That speaks to how simply he lives his life. He did not even come with a colossal entourage. This again is despite the fact that he is wealthy enough to do that if he wanted. The other thing that was apparent was his dress code. It was simple. It was so simple that if you did not know him you would have thought he is some ordinary person. These are things that may seem insignificant to some but do speak volumes about the man. You can learn something from that principle of living a simple life. Such simplicity also regulates you to not spend unnecessarily even if you have the money. Frugality is a virtue!
Being Private And Low-Key
We only got to know about Richard Branson’s presence in Zimbabwe upon his arrival. Obviously, this was not an impromptu trip; he planned it beforehand. Yet he did not reveal it in advance. Even his arrival was initially announced by Fastjet – the airline he flew in on. This is a testament to being private and low-key. His arrival was not turned into some public spectacle. Additionally, his coming was not even clearly stated what it was all about. People can only speculate because he kept everything private and low-key. Some have speculated it could be him considering taking up some routes here since he owns Virgin Atlantic Airways, an airline.
This sounds logical when you factor in the recent completion of the newly constructed RGM international airport terminal building. Branson is also known for being keen on businesses in the tourism and hospitality realm. Thus there could have been more to his participation in the nature walk. It is important to be private and low-key. Even in the article 8 rules you can live by; being private and low-key was the first mention. Supposing he was here to explore business opportunities it means his competitors are clueless about his next move.
Let us work with the assumption that this was a business trip; which it definitely was. That would clearly show that Richard Branson is hands-on. After all, this is something he consistently demonstrates in setting up and running his businesses. This is something you can emulate because there are many upsides to it. One, you get to have a tangible first-hand experience of what you are interested in pursuing. Even when you do eventually set up a business, you have a better understanding of its dynamics.
Two, you are also bound to come up with the best customer experiences. Why? It is because you would have personally been in the shoes or environments of where your prospective customers will be. Three, it serves to energize and inspire your team and the people who work for you. As in, you would have set an example and also placed yourself on a platform from which you can be taken seriously. Your voice will be taken seriously because you are actively involved. Learn to be someone who is hands-on but of course not overly micromanaging.
Prioritizing Family And Friends Is An Important Value
That is one thing you will always see in Richard Branson living his life. He places immense priority on involving and spending time with family. When he flew into Zimbabwe he came with his friends, sister, and daughter-in-law. Family and friends are important support systems, especially for someone in business. These are people who help you navigate the hectic terrain of business and entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur or business person you should always surround yourself with family and friends. The genuine ones of course are who matter. The ones who are truly in your corner; standing by and with you. Involving them is also pertinent to continuity in the event something happens to you.
These are some of the lessons to be learnt from Richard Branson’s recent visit to Zimbabwe. There are of course several more lessons you could identify from his visit. The fact that he is a billionaire speaks to how you can benefit immensely from applying those lessons. Over the years there is a great principle I learnt from Richard Branson. I have been applying it ever since and it is from when he said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”. This is even buttressed by something else he said which is, “The best way of learning about anything is by doing”. Kindly add more lessons you noted from Branson’s recent visit to Zimbabwe.