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The Richard Branson: From Starting a School Magazine to Manufacturing Spacecrafts

The Richard Branson: From Starting a School Magazine to Manufacturing Spacecrafts

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, often referred to as Richard Branson, is a British business tycoon best known for founding the Virgin Group, which includes more than 400 firms. According to Forbes’ 2011 list of billionaires, Branson is the fifth-richest person in the UK with an estimated net worth of USD 4.2 billion. Everything from credit cards to flights and music “megastores” bears the internationally renowned “Virgin” name. With his marketing strategies and balloon escapades, he has the ability to draw media attention.

Early Life

Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950, in Blackheath, London. His father Edward James Branson was a barrister and mother Eve Branson a former ballet dancer and air hostess. He has two sisters and his grandfather was a judge of the High Court of Justice.

Branson struggled academically in school as he had dyslexia. Until the age of thirteen, he attended Scaitcliffe School for his education. Then, until the age of sixteen, he attended Stowe School. Early on, he started to exhibit entrepreneurial tendencies, and with time, he learned how to build relationships. Branson got into the publication of a magazine named “Student” at the age of 16. Soon in 1970, he decided to stop continuing his education and instead started a mail-order company for audio records.

He took the risk and started Virgin Records, a chain of record shops in 1972 which was later renamed as Virgin Megastore. In the 1980s, the brand expanded rapidly. Later, Branson founded Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label.

Personal Life

Branson became Sir Richard Branson in 1999 after receiving a Knighthood for his contributions to entrepreneurship. He lives in London at the moment and is married with two kids. Even he owns an island called Necker Island. His autobiography, “Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way,” is quite successful wherein he discusses his professional accomplishments, travels, and personal history.

His journey

The Virgin Group is involved in leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance, and health, with almost 400 enterprises in over 30 countries.  Let’s take a peek into his journey.

1960s, When Richard Branson was 16 years old, he launched his ‘Student’ magazine, which included celebrity interviews and sold about $8,000 worth of advertising in its debut issue. To promote his magazine, the kid dropped out of school. He established a mail-order record company in 1969, using the magazine office as its operating base. The new company was founded by Branson and his 20-person team under the name Virgin.

1970s, Branson established Virgin Mail Order Records in 1970. He had a rough beginning, but by 1972 he had grown to operate 14 record stores. In 1972, he founded the record company Virgin Records using the money from his network of record shops, and in 1973, Virgin Records recording artist Mike Oldfield sold more than 5 million copies of his single, “Tubular Bells,” giving him his first million-dollar payday.

Branson’s willingness to sign the Sex Pistols and other controversial musicians contributed to some of his early success at Virgin Records. The Rolling Stones and Ozzy Osbourne were two more well-known Virgin artists. Virgin Music, which has offices in Germany, France, and Japan, was one of the top six record labels at the end of the decade. Branson paid $180,000 to acquire Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands in 1979.

1980s, In 1981, Virgin Books and Virgin Video were established. Within two years, more than 50 distinct businesses with total annual revenues of more than $17 million were a part of Branson’s corporate empire. In 1984, Branson teamed up with attorney Randolph Fields to start Virgin Atlantic, one of his most well-known businesses to date. The airline’s stellar customer service and cutting-edge onboard amenities, like complimentary ice cream, seat-back TV screens, and in-flight massages, helped it take off.

1990s, In order to keep Virgin Atlantic operational, Branson had to sell Virgin Records, which was very close to his heart, for $1 billion in 1992. For Virgin Atlantic, these were turbulent years. People refrained from travelling due to terrorist incidents, and its larger rival British Airways was engaged, as described by Branson, in a hostile campaign targeted to damage Virgin Atlantic permanently.

Branson successfully prosecuted British Airways for defamation, and in 1993 the judge ordered British Airways to pay Branson and Virgin $945,000 in damages, along with legal costs estimated at almost $3 million, and to issue an apology. Later, in 1997, Branson launches Virgin Trains.

2000s, Virgin Group and Sprint established Virgin Mobile as a joint venture in 2001. Sprint shut down Virgin Mobile in 2020 and switched customers to Boost Mobile. In September 2004, Branson once more focused on the sky and teamed with American aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan to develop Virgin Galactic, which would use authorised spacecraft to transport visitors into space. Branson envisioned offering affordable space travel.

The launch date of the first commercial space flights was delayed due to a regrettable chain of incidents, which included a disaster in 2014. They completed their first successful, fully crewed space mission in 2021. Branson had enrolled 800 clients as of 2022. Branson now owns four businesses that are dedicated to space. In addition to Virgin Galactic, the company also runs Virgin Orbit for freight, VOX for government missions, and the Spaceship Company, which, as its name suggests, constructs spacecraft.

At Present

Branson is looking deeper into the future with his most recent investment in Hyperloop One, a firm that is developing high-speed transportation and cargo pods that move at 250 miles per hour. To get that speed, magnetic levitation pushes the pods on top of a track, producing airline speeds that enable the pods to travel across great distances.n mBranson also started social activism initiatives like Virgin Unite to fight HIV and AIDS and the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship to train entrepreneurs in underdeveloped nations.

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