Small company owners believe luck is not a big factor in business

Business owners have poured cold water on the notion that you need to be lucky in order to be successful, research finds.

Some 72 per cent of small business owners believe they are in control of their company’s destiny, according to a study of more than 1,000 small business owners by accounting and payroll software operator Sage One.

Good customer service (80 per cent), a solid business plan (55 per cent) and sound knowledge of the business’ finances and suppliers (54 per cent) are cited as the most influential contributors to success, suggesting the majority of entrepreneurs prefer to rely on insight and control over chance.

However, almost three times as many business owners feel luck contributes to success than the number who see a business partner as crucial.  

The importance business owners place on luck is shown as partly determined by how well their business performed in the last financial year.

For those companies which had performed poorly, the owners cite bad luck as one of the top three contributing factors. Failing to create enough networking opportunities and being unable to react to changing situations are given as the two most significant reasons.

Conversely, business owners who judged their firms have performed well did not list good luck as one of the top five reasons why.

Overall the study finds the UK’s small business landscape enjoyed a positive year, with 74 per cent of companies reporting good business performance and more than three quarters of these (77 per cent) making a profit. 

Head of Sage One Claire Carter says, ‘With growth comes opportunity, but you have to be ready to take advantage of it. Luck will only take you so far. But if you have a good understanding of your firms’ finances and operations you can act decisively with confidence and turn a situation into a lucky one.’

There will always be a role for luck in business – that chance meeting or new product that comes out of a mistake for example. But the people getting ahead are those that load the dice in their favour.’

Further reading on business planning

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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