What's Luck Got to do with it? This was the title of one of my favorite recent business articles found in the New York Times. It was cleverly written by Jim Collins and Morton T. Hansen.
The authors discuss and study a new metric, Return on Luck or ROL. Businesses talk about ROI, Return on Investment, but we don't talk about ROL because it's not discussed until you get lucky and you capitalize on that luck.
Mr. Collins and Mr. Hansen write about people who are 10 times more successful than others in their same industry. They call them "10x-er"
For example, Bill Gates grew up lucky. He is the product of an upper middle class family and we went to a school that had one of the rare Teletype that was connected to a computer in the 60s and early 70s. Truly, he was born at the right time.
- His friend, Paul Allen, saw an article in Popular Mechanics about the Altair computer.
- They then guessed that Basic would work well to make a personal computer out of the Altair
Then some luck again:
- Mr. Gates went to school at Harvard where they had a PDP-10 mainframe computer that Mr. Gates could test out the Basic program.
But then, he got a warm introduction to the Altair CEO- got hired, and spent several days programming, debugging, and installing Basic on the Altair. He seized the opportunity presented to him by luck and made the most of it.
These are some of the ways, in my opinion, to increase your ROL:
- Do you have a well crafted 30 second commercial at your fingertips at all times that fit the situation? If I introduced you at the cafe to someone who needed your services, could you turn the intro into closed business? You must be well prepared for meeting anyone who is in your target market.
- Bring business cards everywhere- If you are so successful that you don't need to carry business cards with you, then don't. It drives me absolutely mad (crazy) when someone who clearly needs and wants more customers, doesn't bring them whenever he/she leaves home or the office.
- Be highly visible and be credible when you're visible. Be a homerun king- hit it out of the park with every customer.
- When you receive a great warm introduction, be prepared for anything, but just be prepared.
- Talk to everyone- You never know who and what they know.
- Convert leads into closed business. When someone says, "Here's a lead," respond to them, "Thank you for the referral, but I don't want to mess it up- could you please call them and set-up an appointment for me to meet them." In that way, your referral partner must call the lead, toot your horn and explain your business to the lead, and then set-up an appointment. If they are not prepared to do that
The authors conclude with this great advice:
Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn’t just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working — and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That’s not luck — that’s return on luck.