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October '14

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6 • October 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Dumb Luck and the Entrepreneur A s industry professionals we know that by honing our skills, making smart business decisions, occasionally taking chances, perseverance, exceeding customer expectations and a whole lot of hard work, we can more or less run a successful business. But then there's that wild-card element, the one that influences all of our lives, but that we can't plan for: Dumb Luck. You know: one guy plays the lottery every week for 10 years and never wins a dime. The next guy, who never plays, buys a single lottery ticket on a whim and hits the $4 million dollar jackpot. But exactly how much does luck actually enter into the equation when it comes to business success? Are some businesses just luckier than others? And are "lucky" businesses successful because of their good fortune? These are questions worth examining. But how can you quantify luck? Best-selling business author Jim Collins (and co-author by Morten Hansen) attempted to address the issue in his 2011 book called Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. Based on nine years of research and buttressed by rigorous analysis, Collins cataloged both good and bad "luck events" over time, comparing a group of very successful businesses to a control group of average-performing companies. According to Collins, "We examined entrepreneurs who built small enterprises into companies that outperformed their industries by a factor of 10 in highly turbu- lent environments. We call them 10 Xers, for '10 times success.' "Adding up all the evidence, we found that the 10X cases were not generally luckier than the comparison cases. The 10X cases and the comparisons both got luck, good and bad, in comparable amounts. The evidence leads us to conclude that luck does not cause 10X success. People do. The critical question is not 'Are you lucky,' but 'Do you get a high return on luck?'" So, considering all of this, what qualities do successful entrepreneurs have in common? 1) They understand they need to work hard 2) They are willing to take chances 3) They unflinchingly focus on the customer 4) They don't procrastinate 5) They produce more than what's expected 6) They are undaunted by hearing the word "No" And of course, lucky number seven: 7) They recognize a lucky opportunity when it falls in their lap and are smart enough to use their skill, hard work and acumen to exploit it. Professional golf icon Arnold Palmer once made this astute observation about luck: "It's a funny thing; the more I practice the luckier I get." You get the picture. Okay, back to work. __________________________________________ Publisher James "Ruggs" Kochevar – Executive Editor Ken Mergentime – Managing Editor Matt Dixon – __________________________________________ Art Director Linda Cranston Graphic Artist Dayne Pillow Digital Versions Coordinator Gary Markowsky __________________________________________ Advertising Account Executives Kendall Buckley – Dan Peckham – Diane Gilbert – Advertising Production Coordinator Sara Siauw – __________________________________________ Contributors in this Issue: Paula Aven Gladich; Jenny Ivy Byrne; Matt Charboneau; Vince DiCecco; Regan Dickinson; Amanda McGrory-Dixon; Duane Fast; Scott Franko; Charity Jackson; Justin Pate; Stephen Romaniello; Bill Schiffner; Steven Vigeant; Rick Williams ___________________________________________ Vice President/Events Sue Hueg CEM, CMP – Show Sales Damon Cincotta – Exhibitor Services Snowden Terrill – Julie Brignon – ____________________________________________ National Business Media, Inc. President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. Vice President/Integrated Media John Bennett Vice President/Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Vice President/Publishing and Markets Dave Pomeroy Director of IT Wolf Butler Director of Audience Lori Farstad B y K E N M E R G E N T I M E e Long View Got something to say? Join the S&DG Discussion Group at:

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