“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” is a quote from the mid-1st century Roman philosopher, Seneca. The idea that success is a result of chance, or luck, is not only disempowering, but simply false.
When people say we were lucky to have built such a successful brand, we have to stop them and say, “Luck had nothing to do with it!” But yes, we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to apply our skills and hard work to create a successful brand.
We prefer the word “fortunate” to “luck” because “fortunate” implies participation and “luck” implies a random gift that could be given to anyone. If luck is the reason for success, then why work so hard?
Opportunities present themselves to everyone every day. But we don’t take advantage of them because we are not interested, not prepared, or don’t see them as real opportunities. If you are not looking for an opportunity you won’t see it even when it’s right in front of you. If you aren’t prepared, or as we say, “dressed for success,” you won’t be able to take advantage of opportunities that you do see.
We love Zig Ziglar’s great story about the time he was driving through the country and stopped to watch a man fishing in a stream. Zig struck up a conversation and discovered he was fishing for his family’s dinner. All of a sudden the man pulls out a giant fish! Then, to Zig’s surprise, he unhooks it and throws it back into the water. Zig says, “Why did you throw that big fish back?” The man answered shaking his head, “I only have this itty bitty frying pan.”
Preparation is necessary to spot opportunities and take advantage of them. You are fortunate to have had the opportunity, not lucky. Your commitment to do whatever it takes however is wherein the real success lies.
We have seen many brands come and go in the marketplace. Some even came back and were eventually successful, such as Corona Beer. The first time it was on the market, the producers recognized an opportunity for a new style of label that was printed on a clear glass bottle. Still, sales were slow.
This first attempt soon lost distribution and it wasn’t until the brand was acquired that it achieved the top national brand status that we recognize today. How did they do it? Yes, they had a unique label, but Corona Beer was successful due to hard work and diligent merchandising. They did what they had to do.
We tell our clients, audiences, and marketing and entrepreneurship students that the real challenges to building a successful brand involve work in areas that you are not prepared for, will take longer than you planned, and will cost many times more than you thought. It did for us.
We thought our wine business had to do primarily with wine, but it didn’t. It had to do with visiting retail stores on a regular basis all over the country. It had to do with preventing out of stock situations at every level of the distribution chain. And it had a lot to do with building personal relationships. We could have been selling hammers. But whatever consumer product you are selling, success requires tenacity, humility and flexibility to do all the jobs necessary, even the “dirty” ones, to attain and keep distribution. Does this sound like “luck?”
We are all fortunate to have opportunities come our way. But when we recognize them, are prepared to take advantage of them, and are willing to do what it takes to bring them to fruition that is not luck – that is hard work.
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.