My number one rule in business, and in life, is to enjoy what you do. Running a business involves long hours and hard decisions; if you don't have the passion to keep you going, your business will more than likely fail. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, then you shouldn't be doing it.
India is an incredibly vibrant market, which Virgin already, through Virgin Atlantic, has the pleasure of working in. I am delighted that Virgin Comics will not only help to launch the Indian comic market and spin it into the West, but will develop new and exciting talent.
I think bands will actually make more money without record companies; a much bigger share of the money will go to the bands. You won't have record shops taking 40 percent of the money. You won't have record labels taking 40 percent of the money. So they don't have to sell as many albums as they used to in the past. So it's not necessarily a bad thing if record companies disappear.
We have a business that some people feel pollutes, and I happen to agree with them. ... And so on the basis of trying to do good and, you know, hopefully turn a profit, what we did was we pledged that we'd put all the profits from our airline business into trying to develop clean fuels.
And from, you know, small ideas, bigger ideas emerge. So we're starting with suborbital space flights and we'll then go into orbital space flights and, you know, maybe one day we'll send people on a one-way voyage into the depths of space as per the science fiction trips.
I think great businessmen are more likely made than born. I don't know if it's from your upbringing, your parental background, the struggles you go through. In my own particular situation, I left school at 15 and I was struggling to survive in the jungle and that was a great education. So I think just getting out there, hands on, learning to survive teaches you a lot.
Surprisingly, a large number of people who fell out with their partners contacted us, saying that they would love to fly on a Virgle spaceship. But out of April Fools' jokes come real things, and I wouldn't be surprised, within the next 50 years, [if] there are one-way trips heading out into space with people on it. It would be very exciting.
The Virgin brand is not a product like Coca-Cola or Famous Grouse whisky; it's an attitude and a way of life to many. That attitude is about giving customers a better time and better value in a fun way that embraces life and seeks to give the customers something new.
I was trouble - and always in trouble. Aged eight I still couldn't read. In fact, I was dyslexic and short-sighted. Despite sitting at the front of the class, I couldn't read the blackboard. Only after a couple of terms did anyone think to have my eyes tested. Even when I could see, the letters and numbers made no sense at all.
When something doesn't go exactly to plan, money is tight or a business is struggling - see it as a challenge rather than a failure. Look outside the box and try and find a solution - you'll be surprised how many great opportunities and possibilities arise when things look bad. You've just got to open your mind and not be afraid of sticking your neck out!
I've been very lucky. I come from a very close family. I'm also in a relationship that's been really good. Lasted a long time. We've got wonderful kids from that relationship, and they've had the benefit of being together. It's fantastic to have that sort of togetherness. It's a rarity these days.
It's far more difficult being a small-business owner starting a business than it is for me with thousands of people working for us and 400 companies. Building a business from scratch is 24 hours, 7 days a week, divorces, it's difficult to hold your family life together, it's bloody hard work and only one word really matters - and that's surviving.
One night, I was chatting with a group of 16-year-old girls over a few drinks about a name for the record store ... A bunch of ideas were bounced around, then, as we were all new to business, someone suggested Virgin. It smacked of new and fresh and at the time the word was still slightly risqué, so, thinking it would be an attention-grabber, we went with it.
Perhaps, therefore, it is odd that if there is any one phrase that is guaranteed to set me off it's when someone says to me, 'OK, fine. You're the boss!' What irks me is that in 90% of such instances what that person is really saying is, 'OK, then, I don't agree with you, but I'll roll over and do it because you're telling me to. But if it doesn't work out I'll be the first to remind everyone that it wasn't my idea.'
What's the most critical factor in any business decision you'll ever have to make? Basically, it boils down to this question: If this all crashes, will it bring the whole house tumbling down like a pack of cards? One business matra remains embedded in my brain - protect the downside.
There is no such thing as a boring person: everyone has stories and insights worth sharing. While on the road, we let our phones or laptops take up our attention. By doing that, we might miss out on the chance to learn and absorb ideas and inspiration from an unexpected source: our fellow travelers.
To achieve consistently terrific customer service, you must hire wonderful people who believe in your company's goals, habitually do better than the norm and who will love their jobs; make sure that their ideas and opinions are heard and respected; then give them the freedom to help and solve problems for your customers. Rather than providing rules or scripts, you should ask them to treat the customer as they themselves would like to be treated - which is surely the highest standard.