The role that luck plays in business success is very understated.

When I studied for my MBA, the distinct (possibly false) memory I was left with is that if you have a killer product or service and you’re more cleverer than the next MBA at marketing and branding yada yada yada, then your success is nearly assured.

I concede that a killer product or service (solution for a job to be done) is very important, as is being clever, as in clever enough to research, try, learn, try again etc., but what few people stress is the role of luck.

Luck, as in gambling, does not have a lot of certainty about it. That’s natural. Luck is closely associated with probability, not certainty.

Luck, or its inverse, bad luck can come in many forms:

  • Your shipment is stolen and it wasn’t insured
  • Your shipment is destroyed and even though it was insured, the insurance company don’t want to pay out in full or at all, possibly invoking an ‘act of God clause.’
  • Your solution is mind-blowingly brilliant in all respects, no it really is! But a competitor beats you to the market and you lose the necessary market leadership position and become an also-ran.
  • There’s a change in the weather and no one wants your solution.
  • There’s a change in legislation which negatively affects your solution.
  • … and any number of other scenarios.

Put simply, in business you need:

  1. A purpose.
  2. A strategy to achieve that purpose, and
  3. Luck, a boat-load of luck.

Why I am stressing the importance of luck? To keep you in touch with reality; you could do everything right, including finding and mitigating all reasonable risks, but still fail due to no fault of your own, that is, due to bad luck. That’s just the facts folks, sobering thought huh?! At least now you know. Best of luck!