People start small businesses every day. However, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other credible sources, about 20% of small businesses fail within one year.
So how do you start a small business and keep it going until it becomes profitable? How do you weather the (considerable) storms, jump over the hurdles and build something that outlives you?
Passion often gets a bad rap as a mindless, emotional, unreliable emotion. But when it is properly channeled and controlled, it can be the difference between success and failure for any business owner.
Of course, many elements play a part in building a great business. You need a viable product or service, regular customers, a solid brand, marketing, and proper financial processes. But without you, the CEO, having a relentless desire to succeed, everything falls flat.
So, what do I mean by “passion” in business? Passion in business means many things, since of them are:
For example, suppose you care about the environment and create an eco-friendly product because of its impact on reducing waste and pollution. In that case, the love you have for the environment can be the passion that keeps you going even when the going gets tough.
Or perhaps you’re passionate about healthy living and wellness, so you decide to create a business focused on wellness solutions to help busy workers get healthy meals round the clock at affordable rates. Your love for wellness is the passion that fuels your work.
Now that we’re clear about what I mean by having a passion for the business you’re in, I’m going to break down the two top reasons you need to have a passion to start, survive and become profitable.
People often talk about how many small businesses fail within one year of starting up. Depending on the niche and location, up to 15 – 20% of new small businesses fail within one year.
I’m more interested in the small businesses that survive the first year because I aim to help your business succeed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that there is a risk of failure. This is true about every business at every stage.
But, there’s also a possibility of success. And to be among those more likely to succeed, you need something intense that drives you. You need passion.
Passion will help you conquer your excuses. Passion will get you off the couch and into work mode.
Passion will make you forgo temporary comforts for long-term goals and love every moment of it.
Passion will help you start.
According to a 2019 report in the Harvard Business Review, “Many startups fail because they don’t have a viable business model or idea.”
The report, which is titled ‘Why Your Startup Won’t Last,’ points out that “Many [businesses] fail because they haven’t been able to gain enough traction with customers or are unable to cope with the competition.”
Let’s not gloss over that reality: the lack of a viable business model can quickly reduce your possibility of success.
But when you have a genuine passion for your business’s unique solution to its customers, you’re more likely to do the hard work and find a viable business model.
Passion for the good that your product or service will do for your customers will keep you going in even when it’s tough getting customers or when the competition is using strategies like a marketing blitz and price cuts to stop you.
You can’t go far in business unless you’re passionate about what your business does. And that is why people who start businesses with the sole aim of making money rarely ever last in business.
Let me make that clear: if the only reason why you want to start a small business is that you want to make money, I’m sorry to break it to you; you’re not likely to succeed.
And that leads us directly to the second most important reason you need passion to drive your business.
It’s an old dilemma for small business owners worldwide: now that you’ve started a business and you’re probably struggling to keep it afloat, how do you get customers to care enough about your service or product to keep coming back for more?
The short answer is: by genuinely caring about the service or product your business provides. And, I can’t say this enough, that service or product has to be about helping your customers, giving them solutions to the problems they are facing.
You need to understand that providing solutions is the only way your business can matter to your customers. It’s the only way your service or product can ever be important enough for them to put you in their budget.
If you have no passion for the business going are in and the problem you solve, it will be hard to get people to trust you and buy from you and more challenging to get them to return.
And in business, you need repeat customers. That’s how you grow your business; that’s how you sustain your business.
So your focus always has to be: how can I solve the challenges that my potential customers face?
It’s true everybody who starts a small business hopes to make money from that business. I mean, let’s face it, profit is a legitimate reason for starting a business.
However, if you make profit the front and center of your business, your customers will know, and you may not last very long.
We all know from experience how businesses focused more on money than providing customers with solutions usually have non-existent or terrible customer service.
That’s usually a sign that the business wasn’t started because the founder was passionate about providing solutions.
So, for your business to survive long enough to become profitable, it needs to be built around something you are passionate about.
In summary, you need passion to start a small business because there are many challenges, and only the passionate stand a chance.
Also, you need a passion for your service or product to solve specific challenges your customers face for your business to survive, be sustainable, and ultimately profitable.
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