There are very few true conglomerations left that meet as broad a de? nition as most people would utilize when de? ning such a word. Many conglomerations center around one particular industry, perhaps attempting to control the method of production, supplies, distribution, and retail. Virgin Group Limited is one of the best-known conglomerations in the entire world. This British conglomeration is among the most varied and compelling companies on earth, and provides a dizzying array of products and services among its business units.
From somewhat humble beginnings as a mail-order business, Branson and his partners gradually expanded the reach and scope of the Virgin Group’s business. Today, Virgin Group is a player in a wide variety of industries from as a record label, to a series of nightclubs, railway, food and drink, to mobile phone service (as an MVNO provider), to health care, to aeronautics and commercial air transportation, to space travel, and everything else in-between. Within a business like Virgin Group, planning is quite possibly the single most important thing that each individual business unit could do.
Though each business unit unites under the Virgin Group banner, the reality is that each unit is a separate entity, with different owners and different objectives. An interesting approach to the philosophy of both starting a business unit and managing existing ones is what has propelled Virgin Group’s overall success in the industries that they compete in. There are many different aspects to planning, and they are handled in a very unorthodox manner within the Virgin Group business units. A Brief History of Virgin Group
The Virgin Group was founded in 1970 by Richard Branson in London, United Kingdom. Originally, Virgin was founded as an audio-record mail order business, however this quickly expanded and in 1972, a chain of record stores known as Virgin Records emerged. Virgin Records expanded to actually becoming a full-on record label when Branson purchased a country estate with a partner, and leased out a recording studio there. (Grant 310-311) This would be the genesis of Branson’s, and subsequently, Virgin Group’s strategy of diversi? cation in a vast array of industries, as well as opening up ll-new ones.