Small and mid-sized firms in the UK are happy to praise their own efforts when things go right, but put failures down to bad luck rather than poor management.
According to a survey of more than 1,000 SMEs, 80% said good customer service will lead to success and 55% said the same of a solid business plan. Luck did not make it into the top five reasons for doing well.
But bad luck found its way into the top three reasons cited for business failure in the poll by financial technology firm Sage One.
More than three quarters of the SMEs surveyed (77%) said they were profitable as the UK economic recovery strengthens.
"With growth comes opportunity, but you have to be ready to take advantage of it," said Claire Carter, head of Sage One.
"Luck will only take you so far. But if you have a good understanding of your firms' finances and operations you can act decisively with confidence and turn a situation into a lucky one.
"There will always be a role for luck in business – that chance meeting or new product that comes out of a mistake for example. But the people getting ahead are those that load the dice in their favour."
Bank of England economists forecast that the UK economy is set to grow by 3% in 2014. But lending by banks to SMEs is in decline. The stock of net lending to smaller firms contracted by £500m in the three months to February.