Is Passion Enough?

We have all heard that you must be passionate about your business, follow your passion and you will succeed, or be passionate about your products or service. My question is this, is that enough?

I am sure you look at your own life and realize that you have different levels of passion for different things. You are still passionate about them, but the level of passion changes, or is different for different areas.

For example, when we first meet our spouse or significant other, our passion is a blazing fire. Over time, however, that passion may seem to become less. In my experience, though, after 28 years of being with my amazing wife, I would say the passion is at a much deeper level. Magma from a volcano after it cools is hard on the outside, but underneath, it can be a fiery furnace that just needs the outer layer cracked. 

At other times, we can be passionate about things that really don’t matter, and may change over time. I used to be a rabid Packer fan, but now they are OK. They just aren’t as important to me anymore. I have lost my passion for them.

In business, when we first are a start-up, wow the passion is visible and it’s there! It truly is our life. After a few years, though, things may change. The passion is still there, it may just be hidden by other things. Or, we could lose our passion for it.

In my experience, I can truly say that when you lose your passion for your business, it usually is because the business has become a job, or has taken over your life. This is not a good thing.  The only real solution is to learn to become passionate about customer service and sales. Learn to love to meet your customers’ needs and to love to sell them what they want.

When I was 54, an amazing 23-year-old and I were having a conversation about our businesses and sales. He was really doing well and mentioned how I could be better. He said, “Todd, your problem is you love your products.”  I said, “Of course, that’s why I sell them.” His response changed my thinking forever. He said, “You need to learn to love to sell.” 

He had discovered the truth of having a passion that wouldn’t die or grow cold. He had discovered that it wasn’t about him, it was about his customers. He loved to sell them what they wanted or needed! He has been awarded several national awards for his business and is now living near Des Moines. Those words, though, are still as important to me today as when he told them to me five years ago.

If you become passionate about serving others and meeting their needs through a service or a product, then your road to success will be sure. People’s needs change with time. Flip phones at one time were all we would ever need. That lasted about five years. Technology changes and needs may change. However, being passionate about meeting people’s needs never has to change.

So, yes, we need to be passionate about our businesses. But, be passionate about the right things for your business. Truly, some of it will change over time. That is the way things are. Some things will never change. I know that if a customer leaves your business happy, whether in-person or online, they will come back and be a repeat customer. If you have enough of those, you will never have to worry about your business. 

In closing, as we enter the new year, I hope that you learn a new passion or renew your passion for customer service and meeting your customers’ needs. I also hope 2021 is your business’s best year.

By, Todd Rausch, Regional Director for the WITCC Small Business Development Center. He has helped hundreds of people with their businesses and dreams. His passion is seeing others achieve success with their business and to see them help others.

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