Over my many years as a business advisor and angel investor, I have become a firm believer in the opposite position, that you make your own luck, which drives business success, rather than the other way around.
As with most investors and advisors, I always look first at some key personal characteristics and leadership strategies that I find often make you a more likely survivor and winner in the highly competitive world of businesses, both new and mature.
Here is my list of those practices that I recommend to increase your own luck in the complex business world of today:
1. Acknowledge reality, but exude confidence and optimism.
Passion is great, but it must be backed by data, confirming a real problem and customers willing and able to pay for your solution. Demonstrate that you understand the roadblocks ahead, and why you are uniquely qualified to overcome them. Be positive, but don't count on luck to save you.
2. Highlight your persistence in achieving results in key goals.
In my view, too many businesses fail, simply because founders give up too early. You should be ready with your personal anecdotes on achieving success through persistence, from non-business efforts as well as business. Having an unlimited number of ideas is not a substitute.
3. Show a focus on a single objective, rather than many.
Starting many initiatives, and hoping that one will stick, is not a formula for success. Demonstrate how one key objective addresses your long-term, as well as short-term goals. Don't be afraid to admit to pivots for cause, as you learn from your experiences. Recognize limited resources.
4. Demonstrate a willingness to take real risks.
Every business initiative with great potential has big risks, including environmental, political, and cultural changes. I believe in the old axiom, "no risk means no reward." You need to acknowledge the risk factors you expect, including competition, and identify your efforts to mitigate these risks.
5. Surround yourself with a competent team and advisors.
Building a successful business takes more than one person. You need other people with skills that complement yours, are not "yes" people, and have relevant experience rather than a low price-tag. The ability to build a team, as well as the intelligence to ask for help, is a huge bit of luck.
6. Be an effective persuader, using both logic and emotion.
Some people believe negotiation and persuasion are driven by logic, while others rely on emotion. Successful business leaders combine the power of both, in conjunction with credibility and a shared purpose, to make every situation a win-win success opportunity rather than win-lose.
7. Be a leader role model, with strong communication skills.
Too many business people let the daily challenges cause them to revert to emotional and autocratic demands, failure to communicate, and inability to coach and mentor team members. Bosses, investors and business partners will see negative tendencies quickly, and will thwart your success.
8. Maintain your health and well-balanced lifestyle.
Successful business people normally have high energy levels, and work hard toward their objectives. Yet no human body and mind can sustain the stress of constant work, with no time off for a personal life and non-business activities. I expect to see evidence of a healthy lifestyle, with outside interests.
9. Show gratitude to the team and celebrate successes.
Everyone in business needs to feel some recognition for their efforts, in order to face the next challenge and maintain their loyalty. Great leaders are ones who share credit for successes, as well as failures. To keep energy high, they celebrate even small successes, and appreciate each other.
10. Be able to maintain customer trust and team confidence.
I look for an intent and an ability to generate trust by delighting customers, as well as your team. That means asking for and really listening to feedback, and being transparent about issues of interest. For team members, it means being available, and showing empathy for their concerns.
With these strategies making your own luck, I'm convinced that you will find more and more success in business coming your way, and your personal image and satisfaction will also increase. That's how to make your business lifestyle more enjoyable in the long run, just as you expected.