Business Success: What’s Luck Got To Do With It?


By Claire West, Fresh Business Thinking

What role does luck play in the success of a business? Do we make our own luck through hard work or is it down to just ‘good luck'? These were some of the questions being asked by Hiscox, in partnership with Royal Institution, at an annual debate to explore the theme of luck versus hard work when it comes to business success, a subject designed to provoke debate amongst the SME and entrepreneurial community.

The event was moderated by radio broadcaster and SME journalist Liz Barclay, and the panel consisted of academics Dr. Stephann Makri, Dr...


...Matthew Smith and Douglas Miller and successful online fashion retail entrepreneur, Sarah Curran.

Luck can be interpreted in many ways and Dr Stephann Makri, who has spent several years researching a phenomenon called ‘serendipity’, believes it is a type of luck that we can influence. Dr Matthew Smith, who has a PhD on the psychology and parapsychology of luck, highlighted how psychologists have traditionally assumed that luck is an unstable and uncontrollable force outside of our control, while the CEO of online fashion retailer, Sarah Curran, argued that having a ‘lucky’ career is about seizing opportunities and therefore proposed that success is down to both luck and hard work. Author and trainer Douglas Miller, meanwhile, explored the idea that proactive thinking can effectively help create luck.

However, Liz Barclay summarised: “In my experience, to be a successful entrepreneur you need more than just hard work or luck. You need the vision to spot a good opportunity or a great idea and the determination to do what it takes to succeed. You need a sensible business plan, you have to stay focused and you need the drive to achieve your goals but you also need to know when a venture... continued on page two >


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