Richard Branson on Challenges: It's More Fun Being David than Goliath  

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When we are starting a business, of course, we all aim to be number one in our chosen kind of business. We always tend to maximize the resources we have and even broaden up our contacts just to get the most number of customers we can. Having a number of loyal customers is another task, since its very hard to please people around you, especially those who have high standards. As Richard Branson on Challenges: It’s More Fun Being David than Goliath at some point in your career.

In every career we choose to take, there will always be numerous and various challenges in which we need to overcome. These challenges will always be a part of your milestone in your chosen career and giving up will never and should not be an option, especially if you want to succeed. Being number one may not always be the best, as being second can also give you lots of opportunities for growth and you can also be playful with your ideas.

Beyond being adventurous, fun and affordable, the Virgin brand is fearless when it comes to taking on giant challenges, Sir Richard Branson says.

“We take on organizations much bigger than ourselves,” Branson says in an interview with Inc. president and editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg. “It’s a lot more fun being David than Goliath.”

The iconic entrepreneur admits, however, that the Goliaths of the business world do tend to win against smaller competitors.

“Goliath has very big feet, especially in the case of someone like Coca-Cola,” Branson said, referring to the short-lived competition between the beverage giant and Virgin Cola, now one of his company’s most oft-cited failures.

Of course, Branson’s career has also had some high points, especially when it comes to acquiring dying companies and revitalizing them. In 1997 he took over a dilapidated rail network from British Rail and immediately rebranded it Virgin Trains. The strategy proved a risky one at first.

“For four years, people were sitting on broken trains with the Virgin name on it,” Branson said. “We were in danger of damaging the Virgin reputation.”

Branson’s takeover of the rail network involved as much public relations as it did engineering. During the reconstruction, Virgin held press conferences showing off the new trains off to the public. The tactic paid off, but only because the company went above and beyond in delivering on the promise to revamp the train system.

“When the government chose to take our franchise away last year, there was an absolute outcry in Britain,” Branson said, noting how much passengers had fallen in love with Virgin Trains.

In 2006 Virgin acquired NTL:Telewest, one of the largest telephone, cable, and Internet providers in the U.K. In that case, Branson decided to wait before putting the Virgin name on the company, primarily because NTL:Telewest failed miserably at fulfilling one of the core pillars of the Virgin brand: customer service.

“They had dreadful service and didn’t seem to care about the customer at all,” Branson said. He decided that the company needed to fix all the behind-the-scenes issues before it could represent the Virgin brand, eventually renaming it Virgin Media.

“We had the luxury of having fantastic people from all the other Virgin companies, the best marketing and customer service people, to come imbue it with the Virgin culture,” Branson said.

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