When things start going well for your organization and you’re on your way to scaling up, it can be easy to say “We got lucky” or “The timing was right.” These statements may help you seem modest, but they’re not accurate. When you start seeing entrepreneurial success, you need to understand why.
Don’t Credit Entrepreneurial Success on Luck
American author E. B. White once wrote, “Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.”
While some business experts argue that luck matters more than we’d think, there’s little data to back them up. It might be nice to think that a friendly leprechaun did you a solid, but there’s other factors at play that you need to think about.
English business magnate Richard Branson has a different opinion that we think makes more sense.
He once said “I have often been accused of being lucky in business, but I too believe that a lot of very hard work has played a major part in any luck that has come my way.”
Business expert Jim Collins takes a similar vein. He explains that if you want to see consistent growth, entrepreneurs need to get a better ROI on any luck they receive.
On billionaire Bill Gates, he said “the difference between Bill Gates and others is not that he was lucky, it’s that he did more with his luck. He moved to Albuquerque. He dropped out of college. He got BASIC ready in time for the first personal computer and for the Altair. He launched Microsoft and he didn’t stop. He [put in] another 25 years of hard work.”
Think about poker. While a great hand of cards can be attributed to luck, it’s really what you do with your cards that can earn you a winning hand. The right combination of bets and bluffs can make even a mediocre pair of eights win big bucks on the table.
The point of all this? All due respect to St. Patrick, you really shouldn’t credit your successes on luck, a leprechaun, or “the universe.”
Whether or not you think luck has affected your business growth, you need to account for why you’re seeing success.
Companies that fail to find out why they’re doing well might see high jumps in profit or spurts of activity, but they generally won’t have consistent revenue and predictable growth, because they can’t replicate the processes that are helping them do well.
While there are plenty of reasons you need to correctly attribute your entrepreneurial successes, the following two factors are especially important to keep in mind.
1) Informed Decisions
For your leadership team to make informed decisions about your organization’s future, you need to be consistently tracking your data and keeping that information somewhere easily accessible, like in a company dashboard.
Companies that want to scale up need to understand what’s working in their business and what’s falling by the wayside, so they can adapt their strategy to meet their needs. If you simply credit your business success to luck, you’re not getting the full story.
Your organization needs to understand your data and apply it in your business strategy.
Is one product doing better than another? Maybe a new marketing campaign is attracting a crazy high level of customers or your customer support team is knocking it out of the park.
Either way, your data gives you a visual summary of your progress and helps you understand how you can continue to grow. If you ignore your data to focus on luck or other factors outside of your control, you’re losing out on the chance to capitalize on what’s already working for you.
2) Employee Engagement
Your employees need to feel like they’re valued at your organization. They want to know that their works means something, and that management appreciates what they do.
Data shows that employees who feel valued at work also have higher performance and satisfaction levels. An American Psychological Association study found that 93% of employees who report feeling valued at work also say that they feel more motivated, and 88% report feeling more engaged. In addition, higher levels of engagement can boost your revenue, since engagement improves productivity while also reducing absenteeism and turnover.
Chalking your organization’s successes to “luck” can seriously undermine their effort.
Many CEOs credit their success on a combination of skill, effort, and luck. While it may seem tactful to claim that luck is behind your organization’s growth, you neglect a variety of other factors that helped you get to where you are today.
Try to dig into what’s really behind your organization’s business success to gain a complete understanding of why you’ve seen recent growth increases and what you can be doing better.