There’s no doubt that many of the biggest names in business have had to work exceptionally hard to get to where they are today. However, there are definitely many instances where an element of luck and good timing have given rise to some of today’s globally-recognised entrepreneurs and moguls.
Napoleon, one of the most celebrated military leaders of the 19th century, was once asked whether he preferred having brilliant or courageous general by his side. Napoleon promptly answered with ‘lucky ones’. Of course, luck and timing play some part in the success of some of the biggest brands in the 21st century, but they’ve also had the right strategies to take advantage of their good fortune. Let’s look at some of the most successful businessmen and women to benefit from an element of luck whilst growing their respective business empires.
Turn the clock back more than a decade and Levi Roots was working as a delivery driver to provide for his family. He would visit food fairs in London at the weekends to try and make a little extra money on the side with his ‘Reggae Reggae’ Caribbean-influenced cooking sauces. If it wasn’t for a BBC researcher discovering Levi’s sauces on a market stall and recommending that he seek investment on the Dragons’ Den hit TV show, Roots might still be behind the wheel of that delivery van today!
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
According to this Lottoland infographic, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had no intention of their internet search engine becoming the number-one mode of categorizing web pages. The concept was only borne out of a class project at Stanford University. Furthermore, a typo when purchasing the inaugural domain name for their search engine meant that their intended name Googol – short for googolplex which is the name for ten to the power of googol – became Google overnight!
Sir Richard Branson
The founder of Virgin, Branson is now worth a reported £3.3bn, but it wasn’t always plain sailing. When he founded Virgin Records, the company struggled to gain traction with its newest song in the United States, ‘Tubular Bells’ by Mike Oldfield. Branson eventually passed on the track to the owner of Atlantic Records, who was listening to the song when Hollywood director, William Friedkin entered his office seeking a soundtrack for an upcoming horror film. The Exorcist would become one of the biggest-selling horror movies at the box office of all time and Tubular Bells became an instant hit – what timing!
J. K. Rowling
Multi-million-dollar British author, J. K. Rowling endured some difficult years as a young working mother, depending on state welfare to pay the bills. Rowling’s epiphany as a writer came during a six-hour train delay en-route from Manchester to London. It was this lengthy time stationary on the tracks that Rowling eventually finalised Harry Potter and other characters, Ron and Hermione. Six years after that fateful train delay, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit the bookshops, reaching the summit of the New York Times list of best-selling fiction in August 1999.
Luck played a part in the fortunes of all four of these individuals, but in order to maximize their luck, they had to be there in the first place. Their drive, determination and unique flair for their niche are the important takeaways for any of our readers that consider themselves budding entrepreneurs.