Attracting lucky opportunities and being smart are definitely connected. A significant number of successful small business owners say that thriving in business, including surviving the recent recession, has meant getting smart about making their own luck. It’s simply not enough to work hard, you have to work smart and perform key growth activities that impact your business’ success.
What do you think about the role of luck as it relates to the fate of YOUR business? In the process of writing this book, I asked many entrepreneurs, business owners and managers, students (past and current) and colleagues to share their perspectives on luck and what it means to their and their companies’ successes. My conclusion is: luck is not as much about the situation as your approach, attitude and reaction to the situation – basically your passion for what you’re doing, your planning, and most importantly, perseverance combined with a willingness to do anything (within reason) to realize your dreams. One of the respondents to the survey I launched on the role of lucky in business shared that, Luck is the rounding error that either goes your way, or not, after you’ve done your hard work and preparation.
If you look carefully at events that appear to be lucky, you will discover that almost all of them (when reverse-engineered) exist at the junction where good planning, passion and perseverance meet opportunities that warrant them. If you’re not prepared for events that favor your company and don’t have an opportunistic outlook, then the likelihood of your missing these breaks is pretty high.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Think about times when you’ve been planning and preparing for quite a while, and suddenly an opportunity seems to come out of nowhere. Is this luck? Or is it simply that your planning and perseverance finally encountered the right opportunity? Would you have recognized the opportunity if you hadn’t been doing all the hard work that lead to this event? Probably not!
Understanding the role of these lucky or unlucky opportunities in your business is critical because:
• Individuals who claim their success is due to luck are usually not giving themselves enough credit for the positive activities and plans they have undertaken that allowed them to seize the opportunity. If you don’t recognize how you’ve empowered your own luck, you are less likely to continue those very activities that are critical to your success.
• Folks who think they are simply unlucky and therefore will not be successful regardless of what they do, cede control over their situation. This is really dangerous because these business owners seal their fate by assuming they can’t take positive steps to prepare themselves for unforeseen events (both good and bad). By assuming they won’t get lucky breaks, they stop looking for those opportunities that can change their business.
So how do you prepare yourself for opportunities and maximize your chances of success? I have found – and show in the book and this Bloginar – that perseverance, commitment and confidence combined with having a solid roadmap are the main criteria for business success. Luck happens when you have positioned yourself to be on the watch for the right opportunities.
Weekly Lesson One (Try this…)
Are you translating your vision onto paper and then into reality? This gives you the greatest chance of driving profit and revenue into your business.
1. Write down the most important business goal for your company to achieve in the next 12 months.
Now, review the statements below and provide a score for each.
A “1” means that you strongly disagree and a “5” means that you strongly agree.
1. Strongly Disagree – 2. Disagree – 3. Neutral – 4. Agree – 5. Strongly Agree
How strongly do you agree with the statements below?
1. I have a clear vision for how I want my company to be positioned in the next 3-5 years
1 2 3 4 5
2. I regularly communicate my vision to my employees, so they all understand and share my vision
1 2 3 4 5
3. I have a written business plan that I share with my key employees
1 2 3 4 5
4. I use a dashboard regularly to track the performance of my business against my goals
1 2 3 4 5
5. I spend at least 20% of my work week working ON my business versus IN my business
1 2 3 4 5
6. The key employees in my company are empowered to make important operational and customer-driven decisions without me
1 2 3 4 5
Your total maximum score is a 30. How did you do? If you’re not happy with your score, below list 3 actions you can take to improve your business’ chances of achieving this critical goal.