WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A LUCKY BUSINESS?  Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

In my experience, I’ve also heard, believed, and lived the following definition of luck by Lucius Annaeus Seneca:  Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. 
How does that work?  If you are well prepared and get an opportunity you can be “lucky”.  Inversely, if you get the opportunity and are not prepared you will be “unlucky”.

Preparation meeting Opportunity
Gaining a Competitive Advantage is making sure preparation is meeting opportunity. 

The definition of luck by


  1. the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities
  2. good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance
  3. a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person

One of my life experience examples of Luck, I played baseball for Vanderbilt University.  I was a very good catcher and hitter, I set my goal to become a professional baseball player and worked very hard improving my skills, but on paper many important people thought I was too small (5’10” 175 lbs.) to become a professional baseball player.  Somehow at the end of my senior year I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins.  I later spoke to the Vice President of Player Development (George Brophy) and asked him when the Twins had decided to draft me.  He informed me that in the winter, George Brophy went to see Vanderbilt play Seton Hall in Florida.  Many professional teams were interested in a player from Seton Hall.  As it turned out, when the Twins reviewed the tapes of the game, George Brophy said that they had focused on me and my abilities as a player.  Preparation meeting opportunity. 

Another experience was when I was a product manager at a large sporting goods company.  We had the vision of an incredible Aluminum Ice Hockey stick.  We prepared and tested and improved this stick regularly.  We were prepared and we had a chance opportunity to meet the great Wayne Gretzky.  We suggested he try our stick and he liked it, placing us firmly in a Competitive Advantage in the Ice Hockey stick marketplace.  Preparation meeting opportunity. 

How does that work?  If you are well prepared and get an opportunity you can be “lucky”.  Inversely, if you get the opportunity and are not prepared you will be “unlucky”.

There are many experiences that can justify the definition we use for Luck, but how does this apply to business generally or marketing specifically?


Business and Product Position; the first leg of preparation


Example 1:  A technology company was in airflow improvement in Data Centers.  They believed they were the airflow experts in the industry.  The company’s main product was a grommet and we established that the industry perceived them as a grommet company.  Internally the focus became grommet focused, limiting their ability to create product other than grommets.  We had to re-position and re-brand the company externally as well as internally.  We succeeded and turned the company around. Preparation meeting opportunity. 

Example 2:  A Nanotechnology company created Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) as a high tech insulation material.  They initially positioned the company as an insulation company.  The product was expensive as a per foot insulation product.  Secondly the product had installation limitations.  Erroneously the owner wanted to pitch this technology to Frozen Warehouses and distribution Centers.  This was a positioning mistake, as we were told by the warehouse management team, “If we want to add another R40 of insulation, we’ll add another 6 inches of foam externally to the building.”  This was a large time and cash consuming mistake.

The examples are of not understanding how important correct positioning is to a business.  The first example is one of becoming narrowly positioned by the marketplace and then internalizing that position by the employees creating a defeating cycle.  The second example is one of not understanding the limitations of your products and wasting time and money chasing false opportunities.  You see, the VIPs are premium products that can create outstanding insulation in a smaller footprint than other insulation products.  The correct positioning was where space is limited and high quality insulation is required.

We, at EZB Consulting, will give you an independent understanding of where you are currently positioned, where you could be positioned to maximize revenue, generate growth and develop a sustainable Competitive Advantage, and get Lucky. Preparation meeting opportunity. 

Jack Welch, the great leader of GE said:  “Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.”

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