Business Advice, Startup Advice

Richard Branson’s 1972 to-do list shows the importance of setting “lofty” goals

Dominic Powell /

Do you have a “lofty” business goal that you set for yourself years ago? Have you achieved that goal?

In a recent blog post on the Virgin website, prominent entrepreneur Richard Branson posted a photo of a to-do list he made when he was 22 and working as the head of Virgin Records in the year it was founded.

At the top of his list was simply “learn to fly”, a goal Branson calls in the post a “lofty ambition”, but retrospectively accurate given the success of airline company Virgin Airlines.

Following his first goal are seven more “to-dos”, ranging from practical to personal.

2. Look after me/you/boat

3. Entertain everybody with me

4. Invite nice people back

5. Start getting the small house together at The Manor

6. Start buying odds and sods for The Manor

7. Work with me on projects/sort me out

8. More shops to be found.

In the post, Branson expands on some of these goals; number eight refers to opening more record stores, and number six refers to getting more equipment for the recording studio. However some are never explained, such as who the “nice people” were he was inviting back, and who he was referring to when talking about “you” and “boat”.

However, Branson does expand on his love for lists, and why he thinks all entrepreneurs should set more ambitious goals.

“I’ve often written about my love of writing lists — and this one shows I’ve been at it since the very beginning. Lists not only provide great structure for getting things done, but they also help us to set goals and achieve our dreams,” Branson wrote.

“Take a look at one of your old diaries. Have you achieved a lofty goal that you wrote down?”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a journalist at SmartCompany and a tech and music geek. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading or browsing record shops.

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