March Luck

March 1, 2018

Mother Nature teased us with a beautiful spring day in the middle of February! It felt more like April or May, but we have a few months to go until we truly reach spring. Whether you are a sports fan or not, this month the news will be overflowing with “March Madness” stories. Born out of the college basketball competition, the bracket competition model has spread to other areas, locally even involving Lenten fish fries! The Ultimate Pittsburgh Fish Fry

So how could March Madness possibly apply to your business? Think for a moment about what your marketing strategy would be if there was a bracket for your business. What things would you do to prepare for your competitive match?

Invariably there will be stories of the top-notch schools that are expected to win it all, versus the underdog teams that no one thought would even win their first game. Our culture is often drawn to the underdog story (think of Super Bowl LII which turned avid Steelers fans into Eagles fans for three hours), and many reflect that their win was due to “luck”. Did the Eagles really win because they were just “lucky”? Have you ever competed against a top-notch business and won that contract, even though you were considered the underdog? Was it luck that you won, or something else?

A common definition of luck is “success or failure brought by chance rather than through one’s actions”. I believe there are times when luck plays in your favor, but whether it is March Madness and someone sinks a “lucky shot”, or a smaller business has a “lucky break” and wins a big contract, I believe there is more to that than just chance. Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Did the player have a “lucky shot” or did he or she simply have better preparation and more practice? Did the small business catch a “lucky break” to win the contract or have better preparation to seize the opportunity?

The top-notch basketball programs and big businesses got to the top through preparation and practice, but all of them were an underdog too at some point. Where do you think you would place on a bracket for your business? What are your goals for your business this year? Maybe the cold, wet spring weather will give you some extra time to prepare for your next opportunity. And of course, I wish you luck as well.

The above was an excerpt from BBWChamber monthly newsletter. To see the entire newsletter, visit

Summertime Reflection

July 17, 2017

Summer is widely considered both a time of rest & relaxation, but I see it a little differently. Summer is the strongest season of growth. While humans dream of lounging outside by the water, trees and plants harness the power of the sun and rain to dig deeper and develop strong roots to be able to weather the long cold winter ahead.

As we consider how this might apply to our businesses, perhaps summertime activities can help us grow and strengthen our vital contacts (our root structure) to support us during the busier times of the year. As we take a break from our normal routines, can we also find restoration and growth from that change? While relaxing and enjoying the summer vibe at different networking events, there is also an opportunity to experience growth in making new contacts. Forbes has written about the numerous mental and physical health benefits attributed to taking time off, but I realize that vacations away can be challenging for most business owners. Though the media portrays summer as lazy and carefree, our businesses rarely take a summer vacation. If we change our mindset of summer to a time of growth and renewal, we can harness the energy of the Chamber to strengthen our roots through new & different sources versus feeling frustration that we cannot get away from it all. Taking a break from the ordinary routines of the rest of the year and seeking new connections may be just what you need!

This is an excerpt from my President’s Message for Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce Summer Newsletter. To see the entire Summer Newsletter, visit the Chamber of Commerce website!