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The Dangers of Passion in a Business Startup

Passion in a startup can be helpful and dangerousWhen I had the opportunity to ask a very successful, grey haired business man what words of wisdom he would give someone just starting in business, he said,

Be passionate.

In fact, the quality of being passionate when you start a business is a key success factor – but in a business startup, having passion can also be very dangerous!

A startup is different from an established business in that has a proven and profitable business model. Passionately executing a known business strategy is necessary and great.

However, in a business startup, there are more unknowns. guesses and uncertainty about what the business model will be.  Before even starting to build a solution, startup entrepreneurs need to ‘nail the problem’ in the marketplace by listening to potential customers.

The danger in a startup is that passion can lead to ‘blindness’.  Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom explain is very well in their great book on startups, Nail It Then Scale It:

“Remember, the purpose isn’t to prove you are right by selectively listening; the purpose is to find out the facts, even if they prove you wrong….

… Once again, take the attitude of the scientist – be passionate about solving the problem, not proving your solution. Remove your own personal bias and be willing to abandon what you thought was a great idea if the market tells you otherwise.”

Passionately persisting in your own isolated beliefs will not equate into a profitable business.

Do this instead

Be a passionate listener and be passionately open and willing to change your path based on feedback and new insights.

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