Go to any business conference or read any business book, and you’ll hear about hard work, dedication, the ability to pivot, and the need to hold true to your vision as key indicators of business success. Never mind that the last two are somewhat contradictory, but those are generally among the Top 10.
What a lot of those books or speakers don’t talk about is the value that luck plays in the success of many businesses. People don’t want their hard work – which success very much requires – downplayed by the notion that they got lucky, so it’s understandable that this indicator would take a back seat. It’s also hard to quantify luck and use it in predictions going forward to determine whether a business will succeed or fail.
And that’s really the driving force behind those books and conferences – to explain to other people how they too can build a successful business. The idea being that if you follow those same steps, success will come naturally as a result of it. As long as you have a good idea. And that people are willing to pay for it. And that you can find a way to deliver on it. All while maintaining enough cash flow to keep the lights on and employees paid. And enough profit to weather any difficult months. And…well, you get the idea.
You rarely – if ever – hear someone talk about the luck they experienced. That one surprising deal that closed at just the right time, or that one unexpected partnership that turned out to be key. You may hear about a big break a company experienced, but even those – luck, by many definitions – are twisted to be the result of sheer will and effort.
While that undoubtedly played a part – after all, every choice provides some effect on the future – it can’t be denied that there are elements of luck that we can’t claim control over, and many successful businesses are built on the backs of that luck.
And that’s OK. The world is a seething mass of complexity and chaos and there is no way we can be in complete control of every outcome. Some great business ideas are going to fail and some bad business ideas are going to succeed. Some choices you make will have ramifications you could never have imagined, and some will have the exact outcome you had desired.
Success is never guaranteed. However, inaction and fear? Those are guaranteed recipes to failure. So take risks and chances. Some may work out, others may not. And who knows, perhaps you’ll get lucky on one of them.