In January 2006, I took part in a memorable masterclass about entrepreneurship, given by Professor Alan Gibb, Professor Emeritus of Durham Business School.
During the session, Professor Gibb gave us a copy of the Durham University Business School entrepreneurship ‘test’. This document takes you through all the qualities of an entrepreneur and, finally, you arrive at a score which measures your own degree of entrepreneurial qualities.
I’ve never thought of myself as a entrepreneur. In my mind, I’m just someone who has lots of ideas, energy and enthusiasm for work and for business, and who is a naturally self-employed person.
My 99/100 result
Well, the upshot of this test was that I scored a positive result on every question apart from one. I can’t remember the exact wording of the question, but in essence it was asking: ‘How much do you think luck, or fate, affects business? And how much of an effect can you personally (and directly) have on that aspect of business?’
I failed on that one. Apparently, the answer which would have given me a positive score was something along the lines of, ‘Yes, I believe I can have a direct effect on the future of my business; that luck and/or fate have very little to do with it’.
Is it luck or is it fate?
For a while after the test, I thought quite a bit about the whole subject of luck and fate and the effect on a business’s chance of survival. Whilst I firmly believe that tenacity and optimism, mixed with open-eyed realism, can have a fantastically positive effect on the fortunes of your business, I also believe that the fates can throw you a real curve ball (such as the effect of the World Trade Centre attack on the fortunes of a business of which I was one of the directors at that time). When that happens, it’s hard to understand how optimism can help a great deal.
So — I wonder — what effect do you think luck, or fate, has on your business?