Entrepreneurs, Startup Advice

Richard Branson reveals what he would do if he lost every cent and had to start over again

Martin Kovacs /

Richard Branson

Richard Branson. Source: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

Billionaire Richard Branson has revealed what he would do today if he lost all of his money and had to start over again, addressing what he says is a question he is commonly asked.

Sharing an extract from his new autobiography, Finding My Virginity, via a blog post, Branson says if he was to go bust, he would first make sure he did so “in the most spectacular, exciting failure in history”.

Next on his list would be to make the most of his high profile by signing plenty of £10 notes and then on-sell them for a higher price.

The next step for the serial entrepreneur would be to consult his notebooks in search of his best overlooked ideas.

“While business may have changed from when I started out, the principles are the same and still fit what I am good at: finding markets that need shaking up, coming up with ways to make people’s lives better, then finding brilliant people to bring it to life,” he says.

“Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. I know I’d find a gap in the market somewhere.”

Of course, the market of today is a different beast to the one Branson started out in, and he observes that a comment attributed to fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk that Branson lacks technological skills (which Musk, however, says was misquoted), is to a degree right.

However, Branson stresses that “coming up with interesting ideas and then finding amazing people to turn them into reality” is what he is good at.

“I see investing in startups in the same way,” he says.

“I’m not always caught up in the details of what a particular app will or won’t do; I’m more interested in the personalities behind the companies and the purpose within their visions.

“I’d happily invest in a company that ends up failing in order to find a young entrepreneur who will go on to change the world.”

Times have changed during his five decades as an entrepreneur, and Branson observes that this is for the best; there’s “new, exciting breakthroughs all the time”, he says.

“Tomorrow there will be another breakthrough,” he says.

“Entrepreneurs are now everywhere and society is benefiting.”

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.