Small Business Column: Good businesses make their own luck

I was interviewing a business owner during the week and she described her decision to start her own business as madness or insanity, one or the other.

“If I’d have known what I know now I might not have been brave enough to start,” she told me.

Creating something from nothing is no easy task and often pushes a person to their limits. 

Some wilt under the pressure, others grow stronger. It’s not for everyone, it shouldn’t be for everyone.

But we, the lucky few who have been through it all and come out the other side, know that it was no mean feat.

The sleepless nights, the things that go wrong and all that implies.

When successes come along it’s considered by some as ‘good luck’. 

Of course, there is no malice behind their words, but their sentiment is misguided. 

There is no such thing as luck in business.

The success you create is based upon the opportunities you create for yourself.

The great ice hockey coach Herb Brooks once commented that “great moments are born from great opportunity” and he was right (read the story of the USA’s 1980 Winter Olympic ice hockey; the so-called ‘Miracle on Ice’). 

When you create your own opportunities they are spawned from work that you have put in.

They don’t come from the gods or from some entity that decides who wins and who doesn’t. It’s all on you. Your hard work. Your dedication.

Dreams go nowhere sitting on a shelf. When you get out to the world and bring your ideas with you, you’ll be surprised what comes from it.

A number of weeks ago in this column, I interviewed Jon Bayle from Deposify. It was a wonderfully honest account of the realities of being a start-up.

“You have to keep putting road behind you,” was one thing that stood out for me in that interview. 

You get up every day and keep adding one more step forward, pretty soon you’ll look back and see just how far you’ve come.

If it was easy everyone would be doing it. The reality is that not everyone can. So you’re part of that rare breed that makes it, that survives.

Some people work in soul-crushing jobs. 

They go to work every day and do the same thing. 

Nothing changes because they don’t change. 

They accept what they do and think nothing more about it.

I know, I had one of those jobs for a long time. 

I made the hard choice, but I made the right choice.

So, the next time somebody asks how you got lucky, tell them the real story. 

The late nights, the travelling and the sacrifices made to be where you are.

Don’t let people think its magic, because it’s not. 

It was you versus a titan and you won. 

Look them in the eyes and tell the real story. 

“I made this. If you have the time, I’ll tell you how…”.


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