When one wants to start a business, they are usually advised to follow their passion. Is this really good business advice? What role should passion play when you are choosing which business you should venture into?
Find a need you can address in the market
This can qualify to be the best business advice because in business, finding a niche in the market is more important than passion. Passion does not bring you customers. One can be passionate about sewing but can fail dismally when it comes to finding a market for what he/she is making. To such a person will it proper to advise them to follow their passions when they are unable to be profitable out of that? However, the same passion might drive one to continue sewing while they adapt to market needs. These are now business skills at work, and passion is just an added advantage.
Innovation is more important passion
To make it big in the business world, there is a need to be innovative. In these constantly changing times, those who manage to be successful in business turn out to be those who are innovative. One might want to look at Strive Masiyiwa`s Econet, its ability to be innovative placed a clear distinction between the company and its competitors. While passion might have played a part in the establishment of Econet in Zimbabwe, its success came as a result of its ability to be innovative.
Passion alone will not fund startup costs
There a lot of individuals passionate about what they do, but financially their results are disastrous. I am tempted to talk of Daniel Chingoma`s helicopter, where passion was written all over the whole thing. Mr. Chingoma was sure headed for success but lacked skills and proper networks to fund his project. This might explain why he is stuck with a white elephant of a helicopter which could have been funded into becoming a force to reckon with in Zimbabwe. Instead of talking about passion, I would rather encourage one to know the right persons to network with while they find ways to source for funds.
Passion might affect your decision making
Being realistic is important before one thinks of establishing a business. Being passionate about what one does might lead you into thinking that everyone will like what you do. Similar to finding a niche in the market, there is need for one to fully understand the viability of his/her business idea. Passion will not make your business profitable. Passion can make it difficult for you to face the reality when your business idea is not financially viable. It can also cloud your decision making. The viability of a business must be considered on its own merit, without passion getting into the picture.
Skills not Passion
When in business, the market dictates what businesses should do. Before anything else, skill sets tend to be more valuable than passion and they determine the success of an entrepreneur in business. While passion is more related to the level of emotional attachment one might have towards something, business is no space for emotions but logic and facts. It will take facts to see what is working and what’s not. It will take knowledge and skills to come up with ways that can turn the fortunes of a business venture. Passion does not play a part in these business decisions.
Where passion comes in handy
Passion is only as important in as far as one needs to be motivated to conquer the odds and challenges they might be facing in the business venture. When building a business around something you`re already passionate about, it will be easy for you to push through tough challenges. Most successful business owners take their passion and build on it by continuing to learn, develop and grow their skills.
Passion is a good bonus, but its unwise to start a business based solely on passion. Advising one to follow their passion, is more of a motivational statement which cannot really be regarded as good business advice.
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