Having a good network can be invaluable. It opens doors for you and allows you to enter into opportunities that are beneficial to your business. In this sense, 'who you know' is undoubtedly important, but to me 'what you know' is more important because once an opportunity shows itself, it is up to you to make the most of it, and this is down to your knowledge and skill.
As we drifted to earth I sat up on the glass roof of the capsule, watching the beauty of the golden dawn as it broke over the desert. This was a day I never thought I'd see and the rising sun and growing warmth of the day seemed very precious. It made me aware that hard-won things are more valuable than those that come too easily. It reminded me to always enjoy the moment.
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Values cannot be speedily forgotten if it is inconvenient or commercially expedient. Values have to have meaning and longevity; otherwise they are valueless. You cannot embrace innovation up to a point or only sometimes. Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking cords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.
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There have been times when I could have succumbed to some form of bribe, or could have had my way by offering one. But ever since that night in Dover prison I have never been tempted to break my vow.. My Parents always drummed into me that all you have life is your reputation: you may be very rich, but if you lose your good name you'll never be happy.
Entrepreneursh ip is a great leveller, since having the benefit of a wealthy background or a generous investor isn't always an advantage. The wonderful thing is that money is not the sole currency when it comes to starting a business; drive, determination, passion and hard work are all free and more valuable than a pot of cash.
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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.
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There are millions of people out there who would love to become astronauts, who'd love to go to space - they'd love to look back at this wonderful world from space. That will be the engine that will enable us then to develop spaceships to transport people around the world at tremendous speeds in an environmentally friendly way.
We went all the way down the Himalayan chain for a day and a half. That was magnificent, except the Chinese told us they were going to shoot us down if we came out the far end. So I spent a lot of my time contacting former Prime Minister Tony Blair begging him to tell the Chinese we were coming in this direction by mistake and could he please say we have no nasty motives for flying into their territory.
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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.