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A Dozen ways you can become a luckier Cosmetic Chemist

I played some poker last night and it is always a reminder to me that being lucky is a much bigger factor than anything else in the game.  Sure, good players will win in the long run but during any given game, the lucky person wins.

What does this have to do with cosmetic formulating?  Well, to succeed in business you can develop all the skills you can (and you should work hard at it) but you are still going to need to be lucky.  And while you can’t magically make luck appear, there are some things you can do to improve your chances.

Here are a dozen ways you can improve your chances of getting lucky and coming up with the idea or suggestion that leads to business success.

A dozen ways to get lucky in business

1.  Come up with a lot of ideas.  The best way to ensure that you come up with a lucky idea is to come up with a ton of ideas.  The more you have, the better your chances that one will hit it big.

2.  Do something with your ideas.  Ideas in a notebook or in your head are worthless.  Do some work to move your idea forward.

3.  Ready, fire, aim.  Don’t worry about making the perfect execution of your idea.  Once you get an idea, create a crude prototype and show it off.  You can fix it later.

4.  Read old stuff.  Everyone is reading the latest stuff but there are some great ideas that are sitting in old books forgotten.  Dig up old reading material and see if it inspires some “new” unique idea.

5.  Make friends with odd people.  When you surround yourself with people who are just like you (and who doesn’t) you end up hearing ideas that are just like the ones that you would come up with.  Make friends and interact with people who are vastly different than you.  This will help you develop or discover ideas that you never would have had on your own.

6.  Take up odd, useless hobbies.  You should have some hobby that is completely different than your job.  This opens up a whole new avenue of thought for you and could lead to cross-over ideas.  I’ve got a few odd hobbies, for example I take pictures of the number 44 whenever I see it.  And of course, I’m a  joggler.

7. Fail a lot.  If you’re not creating a lot of formulas that are failing, you’re not being innovative enough.

8.  “Borrow” ideas from anyone.  In truth, the ancients came up with almost any idea that is worth doing.  Everything else is just derivative.  That doesn’t mean derivative ideas can’t be innovative and impressive.  Don’t be afraid to get ideas from people who are younger than you or those that don’t know as much as you.

9.  Ask for ideas.  Sure you might be a prolific idea generator but you can create even more, unique ideas if you ask other people for input.

10. Go to a trade show outside your industry.  The SCC meetings are great but consider going to a Food industry trade show or a knitting expo.  You might find an idea that you would never have found at a cosmetic industry show.

11.  Share everything.  I believe ideas should be free and the more you talk about them, the better they can develop.  Don’t worry if someone steals your idea.  There is no way they are going to have more passion for the idea than you.  And if they do, they deserve to make a success of it more than you do.  Ideas aren’t worth anything.  It’s what you do with the ideas that has value.

12.  Forget moderation when it comes to ideas.  While moderation might be good for living your life, it’s an awful way to come up with lucky ideas.  Go to extremes with your ideas.  Water-free shampoo?  Lotion that lasts 24 days rather than just 24 hours?

There you have it.  While the luckiest people will have the most success in business and innovation, that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to help luck along.

Good luck!

Got any ideas to help improve your chances of getting lucky?  Leave a comment below.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Colin 03/09/2014, 4:02 pm

    Some really great advice there Perry. Just to add something to what is already a great list, writing about things is a good way of getting a bit more insight into them. Einstein said if you can’t explain something to a 12 year old you don’t understand it. He could have gone on to add that working out how to explain something to a 12 year old is a good way of understanding it. So don’t regard writing a report on some lab work as a chore – it can be the most valuable bit of the whole exercise.

    • Perry Romanowski 03/10/2014, 11:16 am

      Thanks Colin! Great addition.

  • rubab 03/08/2014, 12:30 pm

    Hi!
    I am an aesthetician with a degree in chemistry but never worked as a chemist looking for a bussiness idea that requires least to zero investment ,never done any bussiness before but want to do some thing other than salon or spa. @perry pls any suggestions.
    Thanks

    • Perry Romanowski 03/17/2014, 6:49 am

      See our articles on starting a cosmetic chemist career.

  • Rob 03/07/2014, 2:36 am

    I can agree with all of those observations and suggestions.

    I have notebooks full of ideas and suggestions. Sometimes I don’t feel they are right for now, but looking back over a number of formulations and ideas, I feel I have some real gold in there. The next step is to make some samples and pitch them to customers.

    I also find solutions to problems and ideas come from the oddest places when I am doing something totally different.

    Great article.

    • Perry Romanowski 03/07/2014, 11:48 am

      It’s too bad there isn’t an easy way to index paper notebooks and make them electronically searchable.

  • Jill 09/28/2011, 9:31 pm

    I agree with Eliza, Perry. You have inspired me more than almost any other source of knowledge I have come across in my career. Looking forward to learning more!

    I find that my hobbies of gardening and cooking inspire new ideas for our products all the time. I go to places like Wholefoods, herb shops and candy stores to get ideas for new projects. Even the grocery store has possibilities. My kids make fun of me because they recognize that “light bulb” look when I see something and the wheels start turning. ;-)

    • Perry 10/02/2011, 10:20 pm

      Thanks everyone!

  • Eliza 09/26/2011, 9:39 am

    You are most inspirational, being here is for me one of the luckiest breaks I had in a long while, so thank you for that!

    1 thing I’d like to add: get out of your (comfort) lab! Talk and interact to customers, people that actually use cosmetics (that would be almost anyone)! You will be stunned by the creativity out there.

    • Perry 09/26/2011, 10:08 am

      Thanks Eliza! You made my day. Thanks also for the additional tip. It’s a great addition.

    • Duncan 09/26/2011, 2:44 pm

      I’d agree. Case in point. I got a load of gift size toiletries from the factory store (A few quid for a large carrier bag full) for a next door neighbour. A thank you for a bit of baby sitting.
      Cue her adding a bit of coloured string, hanging them off the christmas tree with a tag as small cute Christmas presents.
      Its amazing how much product you can sell at Christmas with the addition of a penny worth of string and a small label

  • Duncan 09/25/2011, 9:15 am

    Two others: Avoid Marketeers who are too concerned about the status quo of what the competition are doing (Followers rather than leaders)

    The other thing I find works a treat is presuade the “Powers that be” to allow everyone in the company to either use a suggestion box, or attend a brainstorm. That one has delivered a few killer products in its time.
    It can be as simple as a suggestion bo in the canteen or a dedicated email address on the system

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