Happy St Patrick’s Day!
People talk about the “luck of the Irish.” On St Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish. Even with my Greek heritage, we celebrated St Patrick’s Day. Our family ran an Irish restaurant in Toronto, and it was “all hands-on deck” from an early age—washing dishes and bussing tables to later on pouring draft and making Irish coffee. St. Patrick’s Day was our busiest day of the year and we “shoehorned” people in the door to experience the luck of the Irish, the festivities, entertainment, and food and drink.
Today I know that luck doesn’t just happen—it is earned. We make our own “luck.” When I worked for ChiChi’s Mexican Restaurant chain as an assistant manager in the mid-1980s, I had a general manager who taught me to anticipate what will go wrong, solve it before it does, and you will mange a great property. I have lived by those words. Try to figure out what will go wrong, correct it before it happens, and then sit back. Everyone in the chain talked about how “lucky” Hans Bossman (that GM of mine) was to have a store that ran smoothly and never had problems. Over and over, they said, “Boy, Hans is lucky. He has an easy store to run.” It wasn’t luck—it was hard work, but Hans made it look easy because he solved problems before they happened.
Today we have a thriving sponsorship agency. We get inbound calls and emails every week from organizations wanting to hire us or learn more about what we do so they may possibly engage us to help them. This didn’t happen because of luck. It came from hard work—branding, marketing, constantly filling the sales funnel, staying top of mind, delivering quality products and services, and caring about our clients and potential clients. People say we were lucky to get into the business 20 years ago and become one of the sector leaders. Our success did not come from luck we had when we started the company. It came from all those things I noted already—and just plain hard work.
We have clients that, through the 2008-10 recession, the 2015 to present-day economic downturn in Alberta and Saskatchewan, have thrived. Their sponsorship revenue levels have continued to grow while their peers have seen those dollars drop off. I often hear as a result, “Oh, they are lucky they are a kids’ charity. People always give to kids—or hospitals, or whatever” To me, it is not the luck of your product, but the way you present it. Who would have thought that someone could put a rock in a box, sell it as a pet, and make millions? It was not luck. it was good marketing!
We are working with brands that have seen growth during the downturn versus downsizing. Many say those brands are lucky because of geography or the right product at the right time. I say it is good business instincts, good marketing, and superior products and services—not luck!
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