June 2019 HTSAAIL™ of the Month - Sir Richard Branson
An entrepreneur from the age of 16, Sir Richard Branson has endured many failures on his way to becoming a business magnate, author, and philanthropist.
We wanted to cover a few of his many failures that he ran into along his journey to success.
At the age of 16 Richard Branson dropped out of school to start his very first company. He started a magazine called Student geared toward his generation. He was able to generate some cash flow through advertisements (such as Coca Cola and Pepsi) but there was not enough to keep the business afloat.
During his time running Student, he had the idea to sell discounted records through his magazine via mail order. This idea quickly led to generating more cash than the magazine itself and Branson went on to open a record store in London. The magazine shut it doors but the record store was about to open new doors of opportunity to Richard.
In 1994, Branson set out to compete against Coca-Cola at their own game: soda.
A soda maker approached Branson to do a blind tasting between his own homemade cola vs. Pepsi and Coke. Branson preferred the homemade cola and decide to venture into the beverage industry. Testing began in the UK and it was becoming a big hit amongst the British customers. Cans were flying off shelves, but not by customers! Coca-Cola was the one buying his product. They were ruthless and wanted to control the entire market share without any disturbances. Once retailers took wind of this, they began cancelling their orders for Virgin Cola and Branson decided that it was time to shut the doors for Virgin Cola.
In 2001, Apple launched iTunes during the Dot-Com era. Digital music on the internet was still a brand new market. The iPod launched in 2001 and the way we enjoyed our music was never the same again. In 2005, Richard Branson launched Virgin Digital to compete against Apple . Virgin Digital had an extensive online library just like Apple, and even had a subscription service just like Spotify and Apple Music of today but what Virgin did not have was the iPod. Apple had found a goldmine and the right way to streamline the entire music listening process for the consumer. By 2007, Apple became too big of a competitor and Virgin Digital had to shutdown.
These are just 3 ventures that did not work out for Richard Branson. If you do some additional searching you will find that there are many failures that Branson encountered in the past from his early beginnings to ones in the past decade. But, as the motto for HTSAAIL is FAIL. TRY AGAIN., Richard Branson does just that. He is not afraid to fail but learns from his mistakes and applies the new lessons learned to a newer venture the he started.
A few quotes from Richard Branson…
“Treat failure as a lesson on how not to approach achieving a goal, and then use that learning to improve your chances of success when you try again. Failure is only the end if you decide to stop.”
“My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you're moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again.”
“If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.”