It Takes More than Passion to Build a Business

Congratulations on making a huge leap. Your choice to risk it all (and I’d say a predictable income, resources and benefits are pretty huge to leave behind) takes enormous courage, persistence and a plan. And, many would say it takes a strong devotion – some call it ‘passion’ – to the service or product you plan to deliver.

Well, I have a suggestion and I hope you’ll take this personally (not a typo: I want you to take it personally because your business will be among the most personal relationships and responsibilities you’ll ever have.)

I’m going to suggest you shift your thinking: don’t start a business; solve a problem. Unless your product or service can solve a problem (or, secondarily, expand on an opportunity) for a recognizable category of customer, you’ll never make a penny.

The first problem you need to solve is this: why do you want to be a business owner when a job gives you a clear division between life and work? Why do you want to be a business owner when a job means you know how much money you’ve got from week to week? What will business ownership do for you that another job or career won’t produce? What is there about business ownership that no other path can offer AND that you really want? And be real; don’t think in terms of big money and independence – those are not typically the first – or 2nd – things you’ll enjoy with biz ownership.

The 2nd problem you need solve is the one experienced by your prospects that no one has yet solved in quite the way you will. What? You’re not thinking about problems to solve? You say you’re just so excited over your gizmo that the world (not an ideal client, the whole world) will crash your site and clog your inbox with orders?

Oh honey, do wake up.

Passion is nice; but passion with positive cash flow is so much nicer. Please, do this before you hand in your 2-week notice: research.

  • Where is there a visible gap in the marketplace, a recognizable need that you can fill?
  • Where can your knowledge or access to resources provide a solution for a problem that some definable category of buyer knows they have?
  • Who’s willing to pay for it because they really, really need a solution?

Once you’ve found that gap that needs to be filled (or filled in a way no one else has) and you know you’re in a position to respond, you’ll certainly want to plan your marketing, strategic partners, systems, hiring/outsourcing and budgets; you’ll probably want to buy communications tools and sign up for all kinds of online accounts. But that’s not the first thing you’ve got to do.

Please: if you’re running on passion and dreams, take up a hobby and keep the job! But, if you see a real problem and real people or businesses are suffering because of it and no one has responded in the way you know you can and your audience will definitely buy the right solution, go get ‘em!

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