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It Takes More Than Luck

by Brian W. Buethe, President CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development

March 2021 Newsletter Article

I have the good fortune to associate first hand with successful businesses every day. It is one of the perks of working for Grimes Chamber & Economic Development. Our organization is comprised of more than 300 businesses and organizations that help define the great story of Grimes, Iowa. Even in a growing and relatively affluent community such as this, some of the businesses in this community will not be around in a few years.


The reasons why some will disappear from our community, or any community for that matter, are wide-ranging. Some will relocate, some will be acquired by another company, some might change their name, some will become irrelevant due to business evolution, some will close because they just want to, some will close because the person running the business decides to retire or go another direction, and others will close due to lack of necessary or desired profits. Some business owners will know why their business model failed, while others will have no clue. The list can go on indefinitely.


While there are many reasons that businesses close, I am confident that most of the businesses in Grimes will continue to exist, and hopefully thrive.  Why this confidence? Because I know something about the local business community. I know many of the people who run these businesses. I have the opportunity to learn about them as professionals and as people. While there are always exceptions, most of the businesses that we get to engage with have common traits that allow them to sustain, and that list of traits does not include luck.


Rather, successful businesses in our area, and elsewhere I suspect, are driven by passion, hard work, strong vision, and a supportive community, just to name a few. Successful business people regularly get up early and stay late. They sometimes take risks, but they are generally calculated risks. They don’t give up, even when faced with headwinds. When they do fail (everybody does), they dust themselves off and get right back to work. Many of them are kind, community minded people, which makes it easier for them to build important relationships. Those relationships, like seeds, often grow into new opportunities. Success in business, as in life, requires discipline.


I suggest that most successful business owners would tell you that they wouldn’t be where they are today without at least some measure of good fortune. There is plenty good and bad luck that occurs during the lifetime of any longstanding business. But if you have the chance to rub elbows with one of these folks know that, most likely, their success was not achieved solely on chance, because sustained business achievement takes more than luck.

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