BOOK REVIEW : Business Stripped Bare

Review by Kelvin Odoobo Richard Branson, the iconic global entrepreneur puts his business ideas in black and white which clear experiences which any none can easily relate to.

Review by Kelvin Odoobo

Richard Branson, the iconic global entrepreneur puts his business ideas in black and white which clear experiences which any none can easily relate to.

The owner of the Virgin Group which has over 360 companies says that success in business to these 4 things; an eye for opportunity, the ability to weigh up risk, the ability to protect against risk, and most importantly of all, luck!

The Virgin brand has been created to encapsulate the people who work for Virgin and their mindset; lively, fun and intelligent. Virgin actively encourages individuals to take ownership of their work, often by giving them a slice of the business they work for.

This breeds motivated employees who want the company to succeed. Oh, and Virgin have parties. Life is for living surely? This enthusiasm for keeping the workforce is very rare.

It’s a simple model for retaining the best staff
If you’re ever going to read any “business book”, this should be it. The book is filled with anecdotal examples of why bold principles such as integrity, honesty and hard work have led to success.

Branson places huge emphasis on value to the customer, striving to be the best service the customer can receive from anyone in that market sector. He believes that by giving the customer what they want, you stay profitable and in business.

He openly admits his mistakes and explains how you should always learn from your mistakes, admit what went wrong, and never run away. Using innovation to work around problems is his forte and some great examples are covered in the book.

The book mentions stories of how Richard started, as well stories about Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile Northern Rock, the credit crunch and more. This is a book using recent examples that should be familiar to the reader.

You’ll also probably have “Ahhh” type moments, when the penny drops about things you heard in the news and what actually happened.

Business Stripped Bare like Branson’s previous books “Losing My Virginity” and “Screw It, Let’s Do It”, is easy to read, enjoyable, informative and down to Earth. Some have called his books too simplistic.

While meant as a criticism, I think it is a backhanded compliment as often inattention to the simple details, to common sense in business, and/or excessive focus on complexity are what cause businesses to fail.

Business, as Richard Branson points out is not necessarily about all the things we’ve been taught to think of it as – bottom-line, profit, trade, commerce, formality, winning, etc.

It is first about what concerns any or each of us. Business Stripped Bare is broken down into the fundamental ingredients that Richard Branson sees as critical to all businesses: People, the Brand, Delivery, Innovation, Leadership and Social Responsibility.

On one level, Branson’s wisdom is relatively straightforward and unoriginal. However, it is because that wisdom comes from one so successful that the lessons are so powerful and drive so deep.

When discussing brands, Business Stripped Bare describes how Virgin manages its brand across 300 separate businesses and how it is the only companies to have created from scratch eight $1 billion US dollar turnover companies in eight different sectors.

And of course the key to protecting the brand is Delivery. Delivery is about communication and attention to detail, plain and simple, with a bit of luck thrown in.
To sum it up, find your copy in Nakumatt and by the time you are done, that entrepreneur bug that has been biting faintly will have grown into a huge unstoppable animal.

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