The Road AheadBe prepared! [Archives:2003/627/Business & Economy]

March 17 2003

Raidan Al-Saqqaf
To succeed, you need to have constant optimism along with uncanny analysis. The constant optimism is important in ensuring that every thing around you gets some of your attention. Uncanny analysis, however, increases the number of opportunities for doing business, the trick is to know how to foresee these opportunities around you and be prepared for seizing them. Some people call it a 'Naseeb' or good fate while some others call it luck.
Either way, it is one of the topics management people in business avoid talking about, sometimes they feel that it offends their sense of self-worth and causes doubt to develop when they least expect it, and hence reduces their confidence in their abilities; was it being smart or I just got lucky this time? If you ask most executives frankly if they believe in luck, I bet they will change the subject or fall back on a version of the old saying that “chance favors the prepared mind”.
The truth about luck that it is the opportunities and breaks everybody gets, but some are blessed with real good ones. However, in order to get lucky you have to know what to do with such opportunities. In business, it is not dumb luck that seizes the opportunities; it's our preparations and reactions to it, and that's what makes some people in business become successful while others don't.
Doing business is not a completely rational activity; there are factors that are beyond our control, out of which only some we can be aware of, and luck is one of these factors. Sometimes it can help you succeed regardless of other factors but on the other hand it can fail you. Nevertheless, the role luck plays is always of reduced importance, but you can never completely eliminate it as a factor.
What you can do is be prepared, watch your gross margins, preserve your capital, monitor your cash flow, and keep an eye on the market. Although doing such things may improve your chances, there are situations where a decision has to be made involving big risks. In such a situation, have confidence in your self and follow your instincts. After all, you might be lucky.
On the other hand, things don't always work in your favor; accidents happen, and when they do that is not merely bad luck, in fact, you have to watch out for your self and your business and always have a plan B to help you avoid them or reduce their impact. For example if you have some work to do and the power goes off, or how a gust of wind can blow over a power pole shorting a factory or causing fire, so be prepared!
Endnote: Seizing opportunities depend to a great extent on your ability to take advantage of them. Conversely, be prepared for possible threats.