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The Dangers of Passion in a Business Startup

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,

“Be passionate.”

Business Startup - Starting a new business - key to successIn 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.”

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.

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