One of the most successful businessmen I know always says that you make your own luck. And I bet you’ve often heard people say that there is no such thing as luck. When you think about people who are ‘lucky’ you will realise that maybe they always seem to win or get lucky because they have statistically shortened their odds of winning – for example my friend always seems to win raffle prizes, but when I quizzed her on this it turns out that rather than buying one ticket she will by ten, and she enters every raffle she hears about because she ‘knows’ she will win! Which brings to mind another very true cliché – ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’!
‘Making luck’ can be translated into the world of business. Think about the things you would need to win at a game. First of all you would make sure it was a game you at least thought you were good at and enjoyed. If the game was something you found boring, you would quickly lose interest and your attention would wander – making it more likely that others would win. We all enjoy games we are ‘good’ at. When starting your own business it usually makes for a successful business if you are interested in what you are doing. Some of the most successful Mums play to their strengths and start their businesses from hobbies they enjoy (e.g. cupcake making, gardening etc).
We are all comfortable with different levels of risk when playing games – when playing Monopoly do you put up houses and hotels as soon as possible or do you prefer to keep your money in case you need it for fines? Business is the same. Some people are comfortable with investing a huge amount of money into a high risk venture. Others prefer to be more cautious, for example working on their business idea part time to test it before giving up the full time job. But whatever level of risk you choose for your business idea, there are no winnings unless you have a go! You’ll never know if people will buy your cupcakes unless you make them and try and sell them, likewise that book you’ve been thinking about won’t be critically acclaimed unless you actually get on and write it!
Most games, even if they’re a game of chance, depend upon quick reactions. Think about playing Snap – if your attention wanders your five year old will beat you! When playing Pairs, my daughter always wins because I’m too busy thinking about what to cook for supper or surreptitiously checking my emails on my phone! The same can be said for business: take your eye off the main focus and chances are your competitors will overtake you. Or if you let your paperwork lapse then invoices won’t get paid and your cash flow will be jeopardised.
Going back to the bingo analogy, it’s important to know the correct terminology. You don’t want to be ticking 66 when the caller says two fat ladies! Likewise in business you need to keep up to date with your industry. Do your SWOT analysis regularly – things do change. Similarly marketing, HR, health and safety and tax regulations all seem to change on a regular basis. If you’re not informed about issues that affect your business, or advances that have been made that could improve it (think about how recent advances like smartphones, blogging and social media have transformed the marketing world) then you won’t win and you may even fall foul of the law.
In games you have to take your opportunities. In Draughts you’ve got to take your opponents pieces when you get the chance or he will most certainly take you on his next move! Equally in business you need to make the most of any breaks or chances you get. This can range from entering for an award that would be great publicity for your business if you won it, to taking that opportunity to talk to a potential customer in the lift and tell them about your business, to submitting that tender for a valuable contract. If your business doesn’t take that opportunity then someone else’s will.
There is always a certain amount of chance about whether your business will be a success or not. But if you do what you can to improve your odds of being successful then you will be ahead of the game!
Carefully consider your next business move if you want to win!