One of the most impressive things about Richard Branson’s entrepreneurial journey, as chronicled in his book, is how many times his company was in a near-death situations, and how most times he managed not only to get out of a tight spot, but also take the company to the next level.
Growing a record label and chain of record stores takes a lot of capital, and a lot of good banking relationships (read: debt!). On more than one occasion, Virgin Records was about to have their line called, or something with the bank was going sideways and it looked like the end could be near.
However, the most impressive lesson from Branson is how he managed each crisis. Each time, rather than retreating, playing defense, or “cutting fat,” he found ways to expand to the next level. Whether it was adding a store, buying a company, or making a big bet, he had a lot of offensive moves that got them out of hot water.
Don’t get me wrong, there was no small amount of good luck that accompanied those moves, and I’m sure many seasoned entrepreneurs and business school professors would say he made some terrible decisions that could have gone horribly wrong. But they didn’t. He got lucky and kept at it.
It’s inspiring to think about using a tight spot as an opportunity to go bigger, play offense, and expand into the next level.