With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, we’ve got luck on the brain! Running a business takes a huge amount of work, but, ask any entrepreneur, and they’ll always tell you that there’s a little bit of luck involved.
We asked our small business owners what the luckiest thing to happen to them and their business was. Here’s what they had to say…
“My small business was lucky enough to acquire a massive client right at the end of our launch. As I finished my speech he asked, “Are you accepting paying clients?” Needless to say, he is now a client. It put the icing on the cake that was the launch of my business.” –Bryant McNamara, Initial PR
“After the recession hit along with the AIG meeting scandal, the meetings industry tanked completely. And since I’m a speaker and when there are no meetings, there’s no need for speakers, my business was on life support as well. Then a client from the Middle East called, telling me about all the stress that businesses there were under and asking if I could develop a session on dealing with stress. Which I did. And that session became the lifeline that pulled my business through and helped me alleviate my own stress, until clients were ready for my regular topics (communication, leadership, sales) once again.” –Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates
“Complication is rarely a good thing in business, but sometimes obstacles can be serendipitous for unexpected opportunities. Our business found this out when our property landlord went into foreclosure and we were forced through circumstance to find a new business headquarters. As luck would have it, our inevitable hunt allowed our business to find a more suited business locale. Our new location is not only operationally more cost effective but also put us in touch with instrumental contacts almost as if by providence.” –Matthew Reischer, Legal Marketing Corp.
“I actually met my current girlfriend through my business. She was a potential client, we had a meeting to discuss properties and really hit it off. The rest is history.” –Jamal Asskoumi, CastleSmart.com
“The luckiest thing felt like just the opposite at the time, a complete disaster, but it had the proverbial silver lining or in this case, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. About ten years ago, in the early days of VoIP telephony, our provider of local VoIP numbers went dark, out of business. We had to scramble to replace those local numbers and found that, for many customers, a toll free number would suffice. Thus, we began marketing and using toll free numbers more heavily in our business, putting us on a higher growth path. While it was a painful chapter, the silver lining was all luck of the Irish!” –John Kinskey, AccessDirect, Inc.
“I own a vintage and antique shop that is only open one weekend a month. An American woman on a business trip came to my shop in Minnesota and bought some things and she asked where else in the area could she antique shop. She was supposed to fly home to France that day but because that was the day of the shoe bomber, her flight was delayed and she had more time to shop and she had a rental car. I referred her on to other shops that I love and didn’t think any more about it. Two years later my husband and I were lining up our next antiquing tour to France. I emailed a woman in France that had a blog about shopping the flea markets of Provence. I asked her if she could recommend some good flea markets. She said she had a friend that could help me and she passed my name on to Marcy. Marcy called me and said that she remembered me and she had even been to my shop! She was the woman that I had helped a few years earlier. She had married a French man and now was good friends with this random blogger that I had found on the internet. She took our tour group to her favorite flea markets in Provence and helped us negotiate prices! How is that for good luck!” –Deb Haupt, Haupt Antiek Market
“The luckiest thing I have had in my business was being a guest on BBC Radio 2 (a national radio in the UK) without any prior media exposure. That was a big deal on its own but even more than that I was introduced as a dog training expert answering dog behavior questions when I had a complementary therapy business and NOT a dog training business! Dog training was my passion at the time and what I went on to do for the next 9 years. It was the start of numerous media interviews. My focus nowadays is on teaching business owners, entrepreneurs, government entities and non-profit organizations how to build a brand, increase visibility and generate sales by cleverly using free publicity.” –Sharon Bolt, Get Free Publicity Today
“The idea for my business! When my wife and I moved to Louisville from Washington, DC, in November 2008, our real estate agent suggested advertising our home for rent on Derby weekend. I contacted the agents who owned this short-term rental market, but their commissions were ridiculous. So instead I created my own site to advertise my home. Soon other Louisville-area homeowners asked me if they could advertise their homes too and my business was born.” –Zach Everson, Derby Home Rental
“The luckiest thing that happened to our business was hiring a few competent employees who worked harder than I did, and cared about the company exactly how I did. Employees who go above and beyond the call of duty is the exact type of luck that pushed our business forward. Some might call it skill with regards to the recruiting process, but in today’s world, people are skilled at saying what we want to hear. An employee’s efficiency and TRUE ability is just a matter of luck at the end of the day!” –Sebastien Dupéré, Dupray
“The luckiest thing that happened to me in the course of running my business was being invited on a national talk show (The Montel Williams Show) to talk about inventing my product when I first started my business. That appearance introduced my product to a national and international audience. It also resulted in my product being featured on several local news programs, in newspapers, in magazines, and on blogs. That appearance was one of the best things that happened to me as a small business owner.” –Tangela Walker-Craft, Simply Necessary, Incorporated
“When I owned my web hosting company, VServers.com, we were running into scaling problems especially in regards to running out of office space AND running out of server space in our datacenter that we operated. During this time, a man named Lorien Gable was hired by Micron Electronics to go out and find some great web hosting companies to acquire. He was in a taxi line in NYC and overheard someone talking about VServers, a company he has never heard of before but that grabbed his attention. Within three months, we were acquired, and all of our scaling problems were taken care of by the cash infusion that Micron gave to us.” –Jeremy Young, Tanga.com
“I believe we all have moments of luck in life and sometimes people are blinded by the opportunity that is presented to them. My business was started because I was at the right place, at the right time and prepared to take the opportunity that was offered to me. When I lost my job back in 2010 I was desperate and lost in life. However one of my former clients offered me to start my own clothing line and would give me a line of credit because he believed in my ability to sale and produce apparel clothing. I did not have the capital to even dream about starting my own business and his offer was a gift from heaven. I found my three leaf clover and attribute all of my success to him because he was the catalyst to my business.” –Lisa Chu, Black n Bianco Kids Clothing
“In the first few years of my business I had pitched a CEO about a month before I ran into her at a networking event where she was the keynote speaker and her topic was about being a woman leader in a traditionally male-dominated business. I had followed up after sending my proposal several times via e-mail and voice mail but the CEO never returned any of my messages or even acknowledged receipt of the proposal requested. You can imagine my shock when she announced at this event as part of her speech that she believes it is important to put your money where your mouth is and for women CEOs to support other respected & well-run women’s businesses and that is why she has hired my firm to handle all her company’s marketing & PR! Everyone congratulated me after, it was a better endorsement than the New York Times because she was very well known and had the reputation of being very tough with high standards so I got a LOT of business from people in the room that night because they thought if I was able to impress her I must be very good ;-).” –Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
“The luckiest thing to happen to me in my small business is the day MyCorporation gave me their phone system, several desks, cabinets and chairs when Intuit purchased the company. I was early on in my path to entrepreneurship and every penny counted and helped – it approximately saved me $5k in cash for the equipment along with all the time savings researching and purchasing on my own. This was a gift that landed in my lap for walking by the hallway and asking what they are doing with the equipment. 10 years later I still have the same phone system, cabinets and desks. Thanks MyCorporation!” –Rahul Alim, Custom Creatives
“The luckiest thing to happen to me is meeting a great networking group. They are effectively strangers who saw my potential, took me in and have referred me plenty of consistent business to help me grow my freelance marketing consulting business! The kindness of strangers is the luckiest thing!” –Lisa Taylor Powers, TheLT.co
“The luckiest thing to happen to us was when our products got featured on The View as one of Whoopi’s Favorite Things in August, 2014. At the time, we just got our online store setup six months ago. The feature got us 600 online orders in 2 months and it changed our business trajectory from there on.” –K.B. Lee, Ever Bamboo
“I’ve headed down to SXSW the past few years and this year I was having a hard time justifying the expense to go. I went back and forth for weeks trying to make up my mind. Nearly a month ago, when in the midst of my indecision, I’d gone to a party hosted by Herschel Supply and Coca-Cola. They had an old 50s era Coca-Cola machine and when I pulled the lever to get a coke out of the machine, it said “YOU WON!” all over the bottle! I thought maybe I’d won a Herschel Backpack or some fun Coca-Cola products at first but one of the hosts came over and said I’d just pulled out the Grand Prize bottle that was redeemable for a travel voucher of $500 to go anywhere I wished. Guess who’s booked for SXSW this year? : )” –Lori Cheek, Cheekd
“One of the luckiest things to happen to HAUTEheadquarters.com was to have several of the Real Housewife franchise show cast members wear the designer jewelry we had at that moment in time. Many people want to emulate the style of these reality stars and fortunately we had the right jewelry at the right time. Also we were featured by a prominent blogger who writes about reality star style and that led to lots of traffic and conversions for us! To this day we still have repeat customers that originally found us based on tracking down these star styles!” –Nicola Ford, HAUTEheadquarters.com
“The luckiest thing that has ever happened to me is that I somehow turned a guinea pig company into a seven-figure business. In order to test my digital marketing strategies, I created GMR Transcription and ended up completely underestimating the market demand for the industry of online transcription. My wife thought I was crazy for starting this company, to which I would simply reply maybe it’ll help with the car payments one day. I never anticipated that it would become so much more than that.” –Ajay Prasad, GMR Transcription
“We had just started making our sugar scrub in June of 2006, and we were selling it at craft fairs and house parties only. That October I went to Las Vegas with my hubby for a long weekend. It was about 100F one morning when we took a walk, so we ducked into the Venetian hotel to cool off. My husband wanted to gamble, so we hit the casino. There were maybe 3 other people in the whole room. I noticed one gentleman at the table and realized who it was. I walked over, introduced myself and asked if he was the Joe who owned 22 hair salons on Long Island. It was indeed him and after saying how I knew who he was, I had the perfect 3 minute pitch about our products. He gave me his card and when I returned to Long Island we had our first meeting. I sold product to his salons for years, until they started doing private label.” –Roberta Perry, Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc.
“When I launched my business, I intended to build a Consumer Reports for businesses, but I decided to test the idea by creating a comparison website for one category of business tools. Because of my own frustrating experience selecting an online fax service, I decided to use that category as my test. Turned out to be an incredibly profitable category, which ultimately funded the development of my entire business, not to mention my custom house and my awesome wedding.” –Leo Welder, Zilker Holdings, LLC
“Suprex Private Tutoring caught its’ first big break when we receive an email from a Houston charter school, Arrow Academy looking for after-school STAAR math tutoring in winter 2015. Suprex has always done 1:1 private tutoring and did not have any school contracts. I was able to pull together data from all our past students to present to Arrow Academy local board members. I was called into a meeting with 5 other educators and I was representing Suprex Private Tutoring by myself. I had to present myself in such a way that I was confident my staff could help their students pass the STAAR. The board members were reluctant due to my company’s lack of experience in working with schools directly. I did not give up and was persistent on contacting the administrators to try to work with one of the Arrow Academy campuses. I put together a professional presentation and downloaded all my client satisfaction survey data to show to one of the principals of Arrow Academy campuses- Harvest Prep. I had to go through 3 schools hire 8 teachers in a matter of 10 days to finally obtain 1 contract. I did not believe I would get a school contract, but it turns out that if you can truly connect with the other individual and show them your passion and willingness to help, you can get the business you want. After 6 weeks of waiting and follow up emails, I was so excited to get the signed school agreement and considered myself very fortunate to get a school contract.” –Aj Saleem, Suprex Learning
“The luckiest thing that happened to my startup was that we were wanting to send a co-founder to software school part time to learn how to build our app after an unsuccessful run with a local shop. Money was tight and he had a great job with an IT company so part time was the only option. The following week, his company offered a severance package for all employees so he took his $30k paid for software school (full time instead of part time) and was able to live until we were able to pay him. It must just be meant to be! We are now live in 5 markets with projected revenues of $1m this year.” –Gene Caballero, GreenPal
“After kissing a lot of frogs we were lucky to find two incredibly dedicated, passionate, driven rain makers to add to our team who immediately accelerated our growth. We are a small team with peace of mind that we are all working our butts off to achieve our lofty goals. If we did not find these two women, we would not be in the enviable position we are in now.” –Noel Wax, GroundSwell Group
“It was during the toughest times of running the company that the luckiest thing happened to us which changed our course. We were struggling to compete in a saturated market and one day, I just happened to run into a very old school friend in a coffee shop. He recognized me from a distance and came to chat. After a few hours of catching up, I had received two huge orders from his company and my business has never looked back since.” –Srajan Mishra, TSI International
“We are a hair and makeup company with locations in South New Jersey and Philadelphia. We were so excited to do Dana Grady and her bridal party’s hair and makeup for her wedding to Joe Flacco Baltimore Ravens Quarterback and Super Bowl Winner. We advertised that and it really helped grow the company.” –Victoria DiPietro, Philadelphia Hair and Makeup Artists Bella Angel
“When I just first began to flesh out the concept of our new vodka, Mariette, I started to design the bottle. After sketching a uniquely neckless and curved container, I decided to image-search ‘vodka bottles’ online for some decor inspiration. I couldn’t believe it- the search brought up an exact replica of the shape I had come up with. So I clicked on the link which lead me to the page of a bottle manufacturer who upon contact revealed that someone had commissioned making the bottle but then dropped their project right before actual production of it. The carafe was ready for us without the initial requirement of drawing up engineering schematics, creating the glass mold, testing the glass, and more pre-production processes. It was beautiful- my luck saved us lots of money and time.” –Josh Winzelberg, Vodka Mariette