Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Counting blessings (pt 1)

Some time ago I blogged about luck and discussed big luck and small luck.  Big luck (such as winning the lottery) is hard to do anything about (beyond buying a lottery ticket).  Small luck though, is easier to manage.

I spent part of last year teaching information skills to students with an interest in business.  Most of what I taught was fairly basic, but what made it interesting was the different ways in which the students approached the challenges of the course.  These can best be summarized as three questions:
  • Where can I find sources of relevant information?
  • What should I select from those sources?
  • How should I use what I select?
One of the frameworks they used to help decide what information to use and how to use it, was a PESTEL analysis.  In a PESTEL analysis, the analyst sifts through information and categorises it according how it relates to the environment in which the business is being established. (It’s a process called environmental scanning).  The categories used are Political, Economic, Social & cultural, Technological, Environmental and Legal.

After setting up Look-in-the-Bag it occurred to me that, in making our choices, we had been influenced by a lot of small luck.  As well as considering the environment therefore, it would have been a useful exercise to consider ‘luck’ factors.

I usually begin an analysis by trying to work out what questions I want it to answer.  If, therefore, one of my former students was attempting a luck audit for a new business, I would get her/him to consider the following:
  • Are you fit & healthy?  What health issues might affect your business?
  • What learning / experience / knowledge / skills do you have that might be useful?
  • What sort of person are you? How might your character affect your choice of product or service?
  • How much time can you dedicate to establishing and developing your business?
  • What property / belongings / resources do you have?
  • Where are you based?  How does your location affect any opportunities you may have?
  • How well aimed are your efforts?  How sensitive is timing?  Are you ahead of your time / too late / or just right?
  • What is your social and family network like?

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