Create Your Own Luck in '05

Have you ever seen a company so successful that you asked yourself how it could be so lucky? But once we think the cause is luck, it takes away the power to create our own success—because we think "luck" is something that is out of our control.

It's more productive to turn your thoughts toward how things could be better for you and your company. Success doesn't just happen; it's created. Here are some ways you can create your own luck and make the year ahead the best one you've had in business.

1. Be open to new experiences, to things you hear, to new ideas, to feedback from current and former clients.

2. Talk to strangers. Someone you don't know could become a potential customer or introduce you to your next big client. You never know, so rehearse your elevator speech—your 15-second introduction of who you are and what your firm does—and be ready to use it next time you're at the gym or the supermarket.

3. Make small talk. Starting small earns you the right to move on to bigger issues. Make a connection first; once you find out what you have in common, it's easier to move to the next level.

4. Have conversations prepared. If you read this publication on a regular basis, you'll have plenty to talk about. Consider how grateful you are when someone tells you something that makes a difference in your business. Whomever you're speaking to will feel the same way.

5. Drop names. When you meet someone who works at a company you're familiar with, ask him if he knows the people you know. This can open the door to talking about how this person does business and with whom.

6. Listen and eavesdrop. Not in a sneaky way, but if you overhear someone asking something that you know about, you can be helpful to her. This is how relationships are born. Listening also works by inspiring ideas and helping you think along different lines.

7. Ask for help, but don't pressure anyone. Let people know what you need or what you are willing to give without backing them into a corner. Most people will step up to the plate in a crisis, or simply when asked in a nice way.

8. t's okay to stray from your chosen path. Many businesses have gotten successful by acting on an off-the-wall idea, or a person that they had a good feeling about. Trust your gut; it may lead you to your wildest dreams.

9. Exit graciously. Don't burn bridges, because you never know when you'll need to cross them again. Successful people keep their contacts, because experience has taught them that what goes around comes around.

10. Say "yes" even when you want to say "no." Successful people know that nothing will happen when you say "no," and a "yes" will, at the very least, create a new opportunity for new contacts, experience, growth, and potential profit.

Those who are successful engage in one or more of these techniques on a regular basis. If you try combinations of these ideas, you will see new opportunities created before your eyes.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a speaker, business consultant, nationally syndicated author, and radio talk show host. He presents to companies, associations, and leaders worldwide. Contact him at: or at (818) 879-9996.