We’re all familiar with the various thematic clichés associated with St Patrick’s Day celebrations: leprechauns, pots of gold, four-leafed clovers and good luck. But did you know that the phrase “luck of the Irish” does not necessarily refer to the good variety?

Some believe that the term was popularised through the experiences of Irish emigrants to the United States in the 19th century, some of whom managed to make their fortunes in the various gold rushes on the western frontier. The spectacle of poverty-stricken immigrants attaining great wealth led some observers to admiringly – or condescendingly – refer to the “luck of the Irish”. For many Irish emigrants, though, good luck was elusive. Facing economic hardship and discrimination at the hands of the more established communities, many who left Ireland in search of a better life – and many who stayed behind – would bitterly lament their people’s rotten luck.

Today, however, many millions of Americans proudly claim Irish ancestry, with cities like New York and Boston rivalling Dublin for overt displays of Irishness on St Patrick’s Day. Far from being excluded outsiders, the descendants of those original immigrants are now part of the fabric of American society. This is a testament to what can be achieved with a good work ethic and an unwillingness to give up in the face of hardship.

luck-152048_960_720Like lucky speculators striking gold, sometimes we can stumble upon success by chance. More often than not, though, we have to make our own luck through hard work, persistence, and an ability to bounce back from failure. Much like Irish emigrants feeling excluded on their arrival in the new world, SMEs bidding for public contracts can sometimes feel left out in the cold when competing against larger and more established suppliers.

At Millstream, we specialise in helping suppliers become competitive by providing them with the resources and knowledge they need to succeed. While a bit of good luck is always welcome, we know that long term success requires detailed preparation, forward planning, a willingness to develop new skills, and an ability to evolve and adapt in the face of new challenges.
We understand that failed bid after failed bid can be disheartening, but we recognise that success is not always immediate. If your bid is rejected, don’t just curse your bad luck. What could you have done better? Could your pricing have been a little lower? Could your bid writing have been more professional and targeted? By conducting a sober appraisal of your offer and taking corrective action before your next attempt, you can shift the odds in your favour.

So, this St Patrick’s Day, we should remember that while luck can sometimes be kind, prosperity in the long term requires more than just good fortune. If you want your luck to improve, start making it yourself…