When 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,
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.”
In summary, passionately persisting in your own isolated beliefs will not equate into a profitable business. It is far better to be a passionate listener and be passionately open and willing to change your path based on feedback and new insights.