£0.00 (0 items)

You have not selected any courses

Richard Branson's Most Valuable Tip

Posted by vince
Published on 15 October 2018

'If your pitch cannot pass the "Richard Test," billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson isn’t interested in your idea," says an article in Forbes.

'The Richard Test has two components.

First, the pitch must be free of jargon.

Second, the pitch must be short enough to fit on a drink coaster.

"If your pitch can’t fit on a beer mat, a napkin, or the back of envelope. I’d rather listen to someone else’s pitch that can fit," Branson told me...

"Most good ideas can be expressed very quickly..."

He tells the story of a $3 billion company that started on a beer mat.

The story begins with former Virgin Express CFO, Brett Godfrey.

Godfrey was leaving the regional European airline to move his family back to Australia.

Branson called Godfrey to wish him well and said, "If ever want to do anything in Australia, let me know."

After a short pause, Godfrey responded, "Funny you should say that."

Godfrey did have an idea. He asked Branson to hold on while he searched for a beer mat he had written the idea on. In that moment, Virgin Blue was born.

Today the company — renamed Virgin Australia Airlines — is the second largest airline in Australia.

"That beer mat resulted in a $10 million investment and a $3 billion company three years later," Branson told me. The best ideas are short and succinct.

"If it can’t fit on the back of an envelope, it’s probably a bad idea," says Richard Branson.

"Keep it short, sharp and picture-framed."

Virgin Australia isn’t the only company in the Virgin Group that found its start from a short pitch.

On a bike ride up Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa, Branson’s son-in-law Freddie Andrewes rode up beside him and caught Branson’s attention with this short and irresistible pitch:

"Let’s build a movement that combines the sweat of sport with the swagger of Virgin." Andrewes knew his audience — Branson is a fitness fanatic who starts his mornings with tennis, kite surfing or swimming. Branson was sold, and the sports festival, Virgin Sport, was born.

"Because I’m dyslexic. I simplify everything. I don’t complicate things," Branson told me.

"In all of Virgin’s businesses, they have to pass the ‘Richard Test." It means if Richard doesn’t understand it, the public won’t understand it..."

He gives the tip to every aspiring entrepreneur or business leader:

If your idea doesn’t fit on the back of a beer mat, it’s too complicated, and he’s not interested.

Since Branson has heard an estimated 25,000 pitches in his career, his tip might be worth heeding.'

The only problem?

Simple is HARD!

Coming up with a pitch that is truly 'short, sharp and picture-perfect...'

...is NOT easy on your own... especially if you don't do this kind of work all the time.

But help is at hand:

If you're looking to enhance your professional skill set or want to help an employee on the road to success, enrol on our 2-day train the trainer courses This train the trainer course is ideal for new trainers coming into the industry as well as experienced trainers looking for opportunities to improve their CV and career prospects. Book a place on this career-enhancing 2-day course for just £795 + VAT.

Overcoming your fear of public speaking,
sign up for one of our courses today!

See our courses


  • "An exceptionally useful day's training, delivered in a positive and personanable manner, very enjoyable and significant food for thought. Thank You."

    Diane Wilson - DCI Notts Police
  • "The anxiety is gone - now that I understand it. Not only can I make a presentation - I feel I have so much to give now. It's quite a transformation."

    John Eden
  • "Since attending the course, I feel like a completely different person; more confident, relaxed and easy going. I gave a speech at work last week and it went so so well."

    Ben Harding
hm treasury
deutsche bank
  Contact us