How many times have you heard someone say that he or she is so lucky? Of course we’ve all heard that phrase plenty of times. In a lot of cases ‘true luck’ does seem to appear in the most unexpected places.
Business luck, on the other hand, at least in my eyes, has more to do with being prepared at the right time when opportunity comes knocking.
As entrepreneurs, we depend on having some luck at some point in time that will create a bridge to success. How often, however, have you seen people with a great idea or product, but are not in a position to receive capital or a loan because they didn’t have the requirements to receive it? Un-lucky, or not ready?
You Know It When You Feel It
Every week on ABC’s hit series, Shark Tank, the weekly TV show about people pitching their businesses to investors with the hopes of raising capital , there are real life examples of entrepreneurs who receive capital and those that don’t. In most cases, the decisions to invest or not to invest come down to “Being Ready” when the time (opportunity) presents itself.
When you see the panel of investors fighting over a particular business – you know that business was ready. They put themselves in a position to receive ‘luck’. Bottom line, three things usually happen in order for this ‘luck’ to fall in their laps… The product (or service) was right, the people were right, and the vision was right.
Conversely, the same is true when people are not ready. Believe it or not, I believe that NBC’s hit show, The Voice may actually be the best show for entrepreneurs to watch as it embodies the ‘you are ready’ vs. ‘you are not ready’ perfectly.
Scenario #1: The judge(s) don’t hit the button to turn around. Translation “You’re not ready”
Scenario #2: The judge(s) hand hovers over the button (not sure what to do). Translation… “You Might Be Ready”
Scenario #3: The judge(s) hit the button immediately when the artist starts singing – or, for dramatic purposes sometimes they wait until the very end. Translation… “You’re Ready”
So what is the difference? What separates the judge(s) from hitting, hovering or refraining from hitting that big red button?
In my opinion, it has everything to do with preparation and ‘getting ready.’ Those who have their buttons hit have honed their skills to a level that warrants what so many call, ‘luck’. The judges recognize when someone is ready and see the talent, the vision and most importantly, the future success.
Those less-fortunate ones get some take-home advice… How to get ready!
Your Talent vs. Your Skill
Many people confuse their talent with their skill. One you’re born with (comes natural) and the other you have to put countless effort into. Natural talent is a great starting point, a head start, if you will, but success comes when you extend that talent with a relentless pursuit in developing your craft.
As Will Smith discussed in one of his videos, “I never thought I was all that talented, but where I excel is having a ridiculous and sickening work ethic .”
If you want to receive good fortune (luck), then you to need to out-work everyone else. Luck is like a magnet – it tends to be attracted to the strongest connection. In the case of an entrepreneur, there comes a responsibility to not only continuously improve his or her product or service, but to continuously improve their skills.
Don’t Let Your Talent Fail You
If you believe in the old adage, “80% is what you can control and the other 20% is left up to chance (luck), then it is imperative to not only work on the 80% but that you work feverishly on that remaining 20% to improve your chances of getting lucky!
Earlier in my career I used to believe I could ride my talent through most situations and in a lot cases I did. That all changed when I was recruited by Russell Simmons to run one of his apparel divisions. At the time, I worked mainly for smaller creative companies. I remember the 1st product meeting with a major retailer where I suppose to understand not only the creative side of the business but the business side as well. I was used to creatively talking my way through just about anything, but the retailer wanted to understand the business impact as well.
I was stuck – with no real answer to communicate.
Not only was it embarrassing, but also it made me feel I was not as good as I thought! That moment changed me – for the better! It woke me up to the fact that I need to put extreme effort into continuously building my skills up. That experience let me know that your talent can fail you, if your skills are not up to par.
As a result I have had my fair share of luck ever since!