If passionate fans could win championships, the Chicago Cubs would be in the World Series almost every year.
Here’s the truth: Passion by itself is little more than a flame that puts out light but no heat.
This becomes a problem for many small business owners because they have been sold the lie “Do what you love, the money will follow.” That may be true, but just as often as not the money follows someone else. The only consolation here is that if these folks are going to go broke, at least they’ll go broke doing something they’re passionate about.
I’m able to talk to a lot of small business owners as well as many who are planning to start their own businesses. This subject often comes up in conversation and I’m always quick to advise them that having a solid business plan and a willingness to put in a lot of hard work trump passion in the business world.
Recently I ran across some data from a yet-unpublished study that bears this out and also illustrates a wide chasm between those with business experience and those without.
The Harvard Business Review reported some preliminary findings of a study conducted by Utpal M. Dholakia, Michal Herzenstein, and Scott Sonenshein of Rice University. They looked at projects posted on Indiegogo and analyzed the promotional information posted with them. They were looking for words that indicated passion and words that indicated preparedness.
They found that projects with passionate language were about three times more likely to hit their funding goals. (Lesson: passion sells.) However, when they looked more closely, they found that experienced investors weren’t swayed by the passionate language; experienced investors put their money on projects where there was a greater degree of preparedness expressed.
Here’s the major take away: As a small business owner, or a person considering a startup, there’s a good chance you are going to be investing your own money on your project. Will you have the wisdom of the experienced Indiegogo investors and only put your money on a well prepared business, or will you allow emotion to lead you and risk it all on passion?
Finally, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with having passion about your business idea. In fact, passion can help you get through some of the tough times you’re bound to face as you grow your small business. I just want you to know that passion is no substitute for preparedness or hard work.
By the way, I’ve just published a guide that outlines 10 essential building blocks for your small business. It touches on all the essentials required if you want to consider your business “well prepared” for success. If you overlook any of the 10 building blocks on this list, frustration and failure become a very likely outcome. It’s just a $2.99 Mac and PC download at Revizzit. (The reading software is free.)