Is there a special secret in business that one can rely on in order to make a business idea successful? Yes and no, would probably be the right answer. The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows. Better said than done some may say, but that is surely a good way forward. And whilst not easy there are some fascinating opportunities out there waiting for some entrepreneur to take up and develop.
In business, one must pick up the right idea and develop it until we create a successful venture. A lot of young people will say that the market is flooded with business enterprises and that competition is fierce out there. The answer to that is that competition has always been around. For centuries on end. And most likely our ancestors of the Middle Ages thought much the same. The digital field has changed the world, certainly, but new technologies are not new. It may have changed in different ways and at different times, but innovation has and will always be an important part of our world. So, the best and first step in business is to find a good concept that has not been developed and could provide the market with a new product or service which is needed, or could be needed, by the final consumer.
An old friend of mine, Ruperto, started a man-made all-weather material horse saddle factory in England in the 90s. The UK being a large market for riding and saddlery made it the perfect target, but people were used to traditional leather being used for saddlery – mostly handmade in the Midlands close to Birmingham. But Ruperto, being a keen Polo player, thought that the traditional saddle – whilst being beautiful and sometimes a lifelong product – needed maintenance as well as repairing and regular cleaning. He designed a clever product which had the great looks of a traditional saddle but was almost maintenance-free and was far more comfortable and lighter for both rider and horse.
This is without a doubt a way of finding a market niche.
He bought an old factory and turned it into a highly successful company selling his new saddles worldwide. And simultaneously he makes a different line of traditional leather saddles for the classic clientele. His quality and products are so good and established that he can well afford to bring new lines into production that will make its ways to different types of consumer. This is without a doubt a way of finding a market niche. One must either find a new idea or find a way to improve an existing product. Either of the two are excellent ways to succeed.
It is quintessential in any business development to be consistent. Assuming the entrepreneur has picked up the right idea, he must be consistent not only in its development but in its day-to-day management. Nothing is more effective than consistency when it comes to making your company, or your results, stand out. And this rule simple as it may seem applies to everything in life. Sports, relationships and business included. Consistency is the habit that leads to successful businesses. Problems do come up all the time. And one has to adapt and reinvent things to cope with any unforeseen situations. But one must be productive in order to achieve success. In business like in so many other things in life if you are persistent you normally arrive. It is a little like the old story of The Tortoise and the Hare. It is consistency that makes the difference between winning or losing a race. In business it is of paramount importance.
Is there such thing as luck in business? An important musician told me that a good part of his success was due to how lucky he had been throughout his musical career. ‘It is down to being in the right place at the right time’. He is a remarkable singer and guitarist but as he often points out, ‘there are hundreds of singers who are as good if not better than me’ but these competitors are not as consistent, and are probably not working hard enough to find their own luck by working their way up. Luck can be an extremely important factor, but it can only come along if you have all the right factors on your side.
Is there such thing as luck in business?
I still remember when James Goldsmith nearly went bankrupt aged 21 when his pharmaceutical business went through a bad economic downturn in France. One day before being declared bankrupt, he sold his business to a competitor who saw the benefits of buying his slimming business laboratories at a reduced rate in order to enlarge his own business – and simultaneously he saved his competitor from bankruptcy. Was Sir James Goldsmith lucky? Indeed, he was. To the extent that he once told me it was a spectacular case of luck. But in my view, he had created a small pharmaceuticals empire and had grown too fast with all the plus and minuses of such a quick success. The fact remains that he had worked extremely hard to get there. He had been highly consistent, innovative and clever. His reward came out of his final sale which gave him the necessary capital to expand and create his vast empire.
Was it luck, or was it something else? The answer as it often happens has more than one side to the story. But ultimately, it is a case of being productive and consistent. And let luck come as bonus.