‘No such thing as luck’ argue London’s small business owners


By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

New Research shows 71% of London-based SMEs do not believe in luck in business, but almost one in three think it has a strong influence on success

London business owners have poured cold water on the notion that you need to be lucky in order to be successful, according to new research conducted on behalf of online accounting and payroll software Sage One.

The study of more than 1,000 small business owners across the UK revealed that the majority believe they are in control of their firm’s destiny, however almost three in every ten (29%) London respondents still believe luck has influence over the success of a business.

Good customer service (78%), a strong network of contacts (56%) and a solid business plan (55%) were cited as the most influential contributors to success, suggesting the majority of entrepreneurs prefer to rely on insight, control and reliable relationships over chance. However, almost twice as many business owners felt luck contributed to success than the number who saw a business partner as crucial (15%).

The importance business owners place on luck was shown as partly determined by how well their business performed in the last financial year. For those companies which had performed poorly, the owners cited bad luck as one of the top three contributing factors. Failing to create enough networking opportunities and being unable to react to changing situations were 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, Sage One found that 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%) making a profit. London-based companies reported a better year than the UK average, with 81 per cent of companies reporting good performance from their business, of which 78 per cent made a profit. But as the UK economy continues to strengthen, the need to plan effectively – both for sustainable growth and unforeseen contingencies – should be at the forefront of small business owners’ minds.

“With growth comes opportunity, but you have to be ready to take advantage of it,” commented Claire Carter, Head of Sage One. “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.”

The capability to plan and react quickly to business opportunities, as they appear, can be significantly boosted with the right software. This fact was echoed by 29 per cent of those business owners who reported good performance over the last year, as they cited one of the reasons for their success as knowing how to use the right technology to progress the business.

“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,” continued Carter. “Business success is built upon sound planning, understanding, and agility. The days of the Del Boy wheeler dealer are numbered.”

Interestingly, Sage One’s survey also found that one in every 25 businesses have a lucky mascot.

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