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Monday, March 12, 2012

How Can You be Lucky Every Time in Business?

How Can You be Lucky Every Time in Business?
By Dean Pax

Risk and Reward
During the last week of January and the first week of February 2012, I got several guesting invitations for both TV and radio programs (thru various segment producers) to talk about entrepreneurship. Fortunately or unfortunately, they hinted that the theme was about “What is a lucky business in the year of the water dragon?” I intentionally (with a smile) declined all the invitations and jokingly said that “I believe that you have dialled the wrong number. This is Dean Pax not Madam Auring (the famous fortune teller)!” In all seriousness, I have been asked many times if you need luck or feng shui (with respect to my Chinese friends) to become successful in business. I use a game of ‘true or false’ to seminar attendees across our GoNegosyo caravans to test this myth. The result:

Survey says, majority of Filipinos still think that luck is an important element to be successful in any business endeavor.

The real answer is: “False, Everyone is lucky,” whatever year you were born in for as long as you are prepared for the situation. Luck is the offspring of preparedness and opportunity. The world is full of opportunity that is open to each and every one of us. 

We live and breathe together on this planet but depending on our mindset, we see different opportunities or problems for the same objects and situations that we encounter every day. Samuel Goldwyn (American film producer) said that, “Luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it.”

Opportunity is like a window. It will only remain open until somebody else closes it. Personally, I fell into this opportunity paralysis way back in 1997 as I was returning from my USA trip. I noticed a lot of balikbayan boxes (full of pasalubong) that were opened by US customs prior to ticket check-in. Our poor Fil-Ams or returning residents had to bring all sorts of masking tapes and strings to re-secure their boxes after security check to ensure no ‘eruptions’ of things( bed sheets, comforters, branded T-shirts, Coach bags, Nike shoes, corned beef and cheese macaroni) while in-flight.

I had the “wild” idea of wrapping the balikbayan box in cloth with cube dimensions. This is similar to a golf protective cover that we use with zipper that can be locked (I’m obviously a golfer) when we travel with our golf set. This cloth with zipper is a very good and innovative idea to re-secure the opened box. I even had the idea to place sturdy handles on the sides for convenience of carrying (by two/three persons of course!). I totally forgot about this “BBB” or BalikBayanBox cloth idea. Ten years later, it is available in most of Filipino stores in North America. Consequently, Hongkong OFWs followed with an equivalent of bayong with zipper where you can even put a toddler inside it(ooppss, no free airline ticket, please).

Secret of the Masters for Being Lucky Every Time
The business secret of master entrepreneurs is the ability to recognize and fall in love with their insights of opportunity. There are two main reasons why some people can’t recognize their windows of opportunity:

1. Laziness.
I have seen so many people who want to have a better life yet spend the day loitering around in street corners or just waiting for a loved one abroad to send them money. Waiting for money from relatives or from a huge inheritance diminishes the motivation of people to create wealth or monetize their talents.

I jokingly told my sons that if they get married, I will just give them a separation pay (just like in the corporate world) that they use for new family arrangements. Seriously, they know that with their educational backgrounds and talents, they’ll be able to build wealth on their own.

When I did a GoNegosyo workshop in Rome, I advised OFWs to stop sending remittances to relatives. I explained that they lose on two counts. The first impact is that it eats up on their retirement savings (working abroad is finite), and second impact is that their relatives lose the urge to find success on their own. Sometimes love must be brutal for relatives to realize that what OFWs send is hard-earned money. (Sorry, I’m in the dean mode again.)

If you want business income, you must come in with your time, talent, and even little treasure. You need to convert your time and talent (idea) into a winning product to achieve success.

2. Fear of failure.
There are only two things you do when waking up. Sleep again and dream or be wide awake to take steps to fulfill your dream. Thinking about going into business is not enough; you have to act on it. Dream big and start small. 

I lost a lot of money on my first IT (Info Tech) company in the USA. I was arrogant but I now know that the more money you have [to invest], the more foolish mistakes you do. Dream big is about ambition while starting small is about caution.

See your Opportunities in 3D

To be lucky every time.I have a simple formula:
Direction (goals and action) + Determination (passion and perseverance) = Destiny (success of life’s dreams)

Your first D (Direction) becomes your guiding post and will take out all your laziness both in mind and in action. Your second D (Determination) becomes your anchor if the sailing gets rough. Remember that business is not a 100-meter dash but a long distance run. Business is like courting a girl, marrying her, and sticking to the marriage despite the trials that are sure to follow. 

If you love what you do, definitely you have to see it through. Eventually all of these become your third D (Destiny). What you thank and think about you bring about.

May God bless you more!

Dean Pax Lapid is the former Dean of Entrepreneur School of Asia. He is also a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Asian Institute of Management, one of the most prestigious business schools in Asia. He is a prolific entrepreneur, creating one new business a year.

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