Why do entrepreneurs so eagerly take the challenge of starting their own businesses?
If there’s anything close to a universal answer that we’ve found while interviewing and training business owners, it’s passion. Entrepreneurs want to create successful companies not just for the sake of being successful, but because what that success represents means more to them than just about anything else in the world.
That’s great. Passion is important.
But here’s the thing many of them don’t realise until it’s too late: passion isn’t enough.
Being passionate about cars isn’t reason enough to open an auto clinic. Your passion won’t help you balance the books. It won’t count for much when you’re ordering inventory or dealing with an angry customer who can’t understand why their bill is so high.
When you’re just starting out, all of that responsibility will be placed on you. Those you employ will be looking to you for leadership and support. Most of all, they’ll be looking at you to generate the revenue needed to keep the business going.
Before long, you’ll realise you no longer have the time to get your hands greasy under the hood of a random customer’s car. Your passion will take a hit. Your confidence will wane. You’ll doubt. You’ll delay. You’ll fail.
If you’re passionate about cars, there’s nothing wrong with being a mechanic. Spend time learning what it takes to run such businesses from the inside, without the need to take on all the pressure yourself. And if it comes to the point where you realise you don’t want to start a business, embrace that. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.
However, if you’re intent on starting a company, you must allow your passion to take on a new form: purpose.
Passion is what inspires you to work on cars. Purpose is what inspires you to create a company that’s the best at handling its customer’s car needs.
Purpose drives the strategy that makes it a reality. It serves as a foundation for company culture, direction, and impact. It’s the reason balancing the books is now a priority instead of a distraction. And it’s why dealing with irate customers is worth the trouble.
Purpose is what allows businesses to grow beyond the passion of their founder while still maintaining the values and goals they began with. And that, in the end, is the true mark of success.