Tag Archive for 'passion'

Small business success requires two kinds of passion

Over the years, when I’ve counseled budding entrepreneurs, it always amazed me how many haven’t conducted anything close to a prudent amount of research in the run up to starting their businesses. Indeed, they often act as if they must get their business started right now or they’ll just pop.

Photo credit to Anthony Easton on Flickr.com

Photo credit: Anthony Easton, Flickr.com

That kind of impatience and lack of discipline is dangerous and I had to do my best to talk them down off the ledge. The trick was to walk the fine line between slowing them down to a prudent speed without dousing the fire of their entrepreneurial passion with a bucket of tough love.

Yes, passion is important. When would-be small business owners get that far away look in their eyes at this impetuous stage of a startup, they have plenty of what I call market passion: passion for what the business does. They can’t wait to sell suits, manufacture motors, bake bagels, or (your dream here). But without full devotion to something else, what I call operating passion, aka, business fundamentals, market passion is no more valuable than a dream. Or as my Texas friends say, “All hat and no cattle.”

This will be on the test: Success as a small business owner requires market and operating passion.

Market passion – devotion to what your business does – is like a mother’s love for her newborn baby, it’s the easy kind. Unfortunately, in business it can be too easy.

The object of operating passion is less adorable but not less important. It’s dedication to consistently executing management fundamentals while accepting a return-on-investment timeline that pushes the boundaries of deferred gratification. It’s similar to how parents love their teenagers even when they don’t like them very much. See, I told you it was less adorable.

A starry-eyed startup must make the distinction between market and operating passion. Passion for what you sell won’t be enough when sales fall below projections, when payables exceed receivables, when it’s time to make another payroll (“Is it Friday again? Already?!”), when you lose one of your best customers, or when an employee has to be let go. Sometimes they all happen at once.

It isn’t possible to list all challenges the marketplace will throw at your business. But regardless of what and when, sustainable success requires you to manage both market and operating passion so proficiently that you become a high-performing, professional small business CEO, instead of someone who dreamed of being one.

Write this on a rock … Small business success requires two kinds of passion: market and operating.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.


Success calls for two kinds of passion

Over the years, as I have talked with budding entrepreneurs, it continues to amaze me how many have not conducted anything close to a prudent amount of research as they start their businesses. Indeed, they often act as if they must get their business going right now or they will just pop.

This kind of impatience is dangerous.

Doing my best to talk them down off the ledge, I walk the fine line between slowing them down a little and dousing the fire of their entrepreneurial passion with my tough love.

Yes, passion is important. And when would-be small business owners get that far away look in their eyes at this impetuous stage of a start-up, they have plenty of passion for what the business does. They can’t wait to sell suits, manufacture plastic parts, bake bagels or (your dream here). But while their passion for what they want to do will come in handy, without a healthy attraction for business fundamentals, passion has only slightly more value than a dream. As the Texans say, it’s all hat and no cattle.

This will be on the test: Success as a small business owner requires two kinds of passion: The first is the love of what you want to do, as described above. This is like the way a mother loves her newborn baby, and it’s the easy kind. In fact, it’s too easy.

The object of the second kind of small business passion is less adorable but not less important. This is passion for a profession that requires dedication to learn and practice management fundamentals and acceptance of a return-on-investment timeline that pushes the deferred gratification envelope. See, I told you it was less adorable. The closest kin to this kind of passion would be that which is required for parents to love their teenagers anyway, during those moments when they don’t like them very much.

It’s critical for a starry-eyed start-up to make the distinction between these two types of passion. Passion for what you sell won’t be enough when payables exceed receivables, making payroll (“Is it Friday again? Already?!”), when customers are the most difficult, when an employee becomes part of the problem, etc.

These and a long list of other abiding small business challenges will require you to deliver on the management fundamentals you became good at because you had that other kind of passion – the kind that made you become a high-performing, professional business owner, not just someone who dreamed of being one.

Small business success requires both kinds of passion.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with my good friend, Tim Berry, about some of the myths of small business ownership, including his thoughts on passion and persistence. Tim is the founder of Palo Alto Software, developer of Business Plan Pro software, and author of The Plan as You go Business Plan and Hurdle: The Book of Business Planning. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to click on the links below to listen and, as always, be sure to leave your own thoughts and/or experiences.

Myth 1: You can be your own boss

Myth 2:  Passion and persistence are enough

Myth 3:  A business plan is no longer necessary

Three myths small business owners tell themselves

Want to be your own boss? Good for you. But that’s the definition of someone who is independently wealthy, not a small business owner. When you own a small business, you’ll have many more bosses than when you were an employee.

Are passion and persistence enough to succeed as a small business owner? Clearly, they’re important, but what about those difficult days – when payables exceed receivables, on payroll Friday, when customers are the most difficult, when an employee becomes part of the problem? You’re going to need more than passion – you’re going to need management fundamentals

Do you think a business plan is passé? Well, if you think a business plan is just something to write down, print out and put on a shelf, don’t waste your time. But if you understand that a business plan you create, organize and use as a critical management tool, then it’s becomes passé on the day that success becomes passé.

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about these three topics, with one of the founding members of my Brain Trust, Tim Berry. Tim is the world’s guru on business planning and the founder of Palo Alto Software, the makers of Business Plan Pro.

Each of these “myths,” as Tim calls them is in its own short podcast, so you can listen to each topic separately. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen and learn. And of course, please lever your own comments.

Myth 1: You can be your own boss

Myth 2: Passion and persistence are enough

Myth 3: A business plan is no longer necessary




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