I’m sure you have heard of Richard Branson (if not than click and head over to Wikipedia), especially if you are in the business world. I consider Richard Branson one of the greatest people in business today. His story is incredible, his drive is remarkable and the things he has done to change the way we fly, the way we do business and other things is more than noteworthy. He is founder of the Virgin brand and has an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion (that’s with a B). You may ask, what does this have to do with me, my website, my blog or making money online? A lot! His fundamental principles can be carried over into just about any industry regardless of business type or niche.
If there is one key thing I want you to take away from this post, than that is …and apply it to your site and/or business going forward.
Know your audience
Richard Branson knows his audience. He knows what his customers are looking for like he knows that back of his hand. His airlines are spacious, they offer messages to their clientele and the tickets are very cost effective, which means many folks are attracted to fly with Virgin Atlantic, one of his businesses. Knowing his audience, his consumers, those that are willing to pay for his companies services is key. It has allowed him to weak over time and not lose sight of the importance of what his customers were actually looking for. This is valid for your business and even your blog. You need to know your audience and know what they are looking for.
Make sure that the content you are creating is of quality and useful to your readers. Create content that is attractive and easy to read. If you explicitly say that your site is about cooking and recipes and you end up creating content on spaceships and starwars without any relation to cooking, than my friend you have lost sight of your audience. My site as an example is my own personal home on the net where I want to share bits and pieces of my life, my thoughts on business, money, technology and lifestyle.
Regardless of your business, knowing your audience is key. Who are your stakeholders? Tweak things along the way. It does not need to be perfect from the start. But it does need to be relevant and of value.
Branson is known for daring stunts whenever he is about to launch a new product or service. He has even attempted several world records and by doing so has people automatically associating him and his brand to certain businesses. He has built a unique reputation by being different and standing out of the crowd and not listening to where others would want him to be. Richard has stated that in order to be successful and stand out from your competitors “you need to stand out.”
How does this relate to you? Well, think of your niche or the reason why you started your blog or website. When you create content make it different by adding elements that your competitors do not have. Add some catch phrases, a landing page, a logo and something completely different for which your audience will remember you for. have them say: “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that site with the green dragon sitting on a bee sipping a Mojito.” Establish your own brand, even if its just you. (See next section, but that is something for a complete different post as well)
The Virgin brand is fairly established across the globe in various industries. Richard Branson knows the importance of creating a brand and a majority of his marketing activities have the huge Virgin logo all over it. Considering what the company has achieved the brand awareness that comes along with it is that when you see the logo you automatically associate quality, money, uniqueness and creativity to the company. Another example that fits great into today’s world is Donald Trump. Although I absolutely despise his candidacy as U.S. president (that’s for a different time), you can’t help but see that he has built a huge reputation with his Trump brand. Although a majority of his businesses were never very successful (Trump Airline, steaks, etc), he has created a brand to which a majority of people associate luxury, power and wealth. When you think of “Trump” you automatically associate it with high quality living.
Keep that in mind as you build your business and your blog. When people see your name and your site and your business they need to associate it with the best. It is all about quality. Create brand awareness from the get go so that people will associate positive adjectives and emotions when they hear your name or brand.
Once you grasp hold of a specific market or niche, go beyond that. Richard Branson and his Virgin companies is not only associated with flying, he has numerous other businesses in various other markets. And considering his brand awareness in one. Its made it easier for him to dive into others. Virgin is in some way, shape or form involved in television, print, music, formula one racing and a multitude of other businesses. Having found success in one market, Branson has diversified and spread his eggs across a multitude of baskets. If he loses money in one, he’ll make it up some where else.
Expanding and going broader in your business, your blog or whatever you may be doing is a key element of your strategy. Do it at the wrong time and you might end up failing and losing a lot of money. Get it right and you will have a broader reach to a new consumer base.
When it comes to your site, this does not necessarily mean to jump into new niches. It could simply mean broadening the scope of your current site. Take my site for example. As I mentioned earlier, this site is not just about business, its also about my personal life, money, technology and vast variety of other things that relate to myself. Think of how you can apply this strategy to your blog or site.
Understand when to let go
Richard Branson started out not in the airline industry, but in the music industry and made millions of dollars at it. His timing was right and at the time he began his business he became a moving trend. He quickly expanded into commercial aviation and found it difficult to manage both businesses with full focus. He knew when to let go of his music business as the landscape was changing and he saw the future of Virgin elsewhere. In laymen terms, he knew when to pull the plug on one of his businesses at the time because it became more of a burden than a business passion. Sustaining multiple businesses can be done, whilst difficult, it can be done. Especially with the right people, however a successful businessman knows when the time is up and its time to move on.
I have done the same. I once started a small logisitics company which did well in the short run, but at some point as my interests divulged and my passion died out I changed direction. At that point I knew it was time to close shop before doing anything stupid or losing large amounts of money. Always make sure to tweak your business as you go. And when things get to complicated, it just may be time to pull the plug before that hull is damaged beyond repair and your ship begins to sink. And the most important part of that process is not to be upset at yourself. Take it as a learning experience, get up and do something again. You are the only one that determines what you do and when you do it! Its part of the process.