top of page

Alchemy of Successful Business

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

From basic matter to gold! A successful venture is like alchemy, and the entrepreneur is the alchemist.

Success = Markets + Ideas + Talent + Resources + Timing

As if it were a science equation, a successful venture requires the right people, coming together at the right time, in the right market, with the right ideas, employing the right resources.

That’s a lot of right things that have to come together!

Is achieving a successful venture a science or something other?

The current business environment would suggest it’s science. A lot of money is flowing into young companies.

Certain elements of a venture come down to practical and fundamental decisions:

  • The market needs to be big enough to support the intended growth.

  • Members of the team need to have experience in the market.

  • The product or services must meet a significant want or need in the market.

  • Competitors must be identified and mapped for strengths, weaknesses and market share.

  • Capital must be available to fund growth.

  • There must be a plan and a budget.

But, if it were a science, then success rates in early stage ventures would explode. It’s not quite that easy.

One of my friends used to say about his entrepreneurial experience, “It was an overnight success that took 17 years to achieve!” He was also a Vince Lombardi fan. For him, it was all about Lombardi’s “planning the work and working the plan”.

But, even though hard work is an incredibly important part of success, hard work alone will not make a venture successful.

Why does success become elusive in growth ventures?

Just as the word alchemy suggests, there is a magical quality about it!

Change—we know that’s the one constant in life. So, even with careful analysis and planning, the environment will require a venture to pivot from the initial plan. In my opinion, success is then about the alchemist: the entrepreneur becoming a Leader.

When the plan must be modified, it is Leadership that brings a company out of chaos with renewed focus and direction. Leaders must judge the situation, determine the best course of action and convince others the new course, is indeed, the best course.

Leaders must get buy-in from those above him/her (boards and investors), peers (customers and suppliers) and those that report to her/him (employees). However, many entrepreneurs see leadership as a solely positional power, and it becomes their Achilles’ heel in the success of the venture.

Entrepreneurs have very special and unique gifts:


Work Ethic




But, the entrepreneur must recognize the difference between natural talents and leadership skills. The entrepreneur’s strengths become the greatest challenges in growing into a leader.

Yet, for growth of the business to occur, leadership must develop. The alchemist must quickly gain new skills—or hire them into the venture.

Both are hard work!

Great links and resources:

Kauffman Entrepreneurship

Springboard Enterprises

8 views0 comments


bottom of page