Don’t reduce passion to a cliche

Often I’ve heard from entrepreneurs that it was in fact passion for something which led them to this or that venture they are in.  It’s also not quite uncommon for Angel investors and VCs to pad it up when they say “ first thing we search a founder for, is passion for what (s)he does”. Now I understand passion as `intense feeling, desire, sexual urge or fervor’ – but how do founders get the VC to see it ?  With a trouser tent ?

Does that mean to run a DVD rental store, VCs expect you to have a passion for movies ? Love the stars ? Eventually when you run that business you’ll realize it’s just another retail outfit with long hours of work, boring inventory management, content display, book keeping and logistics. No high profile glitzy parties or nothing remotely close to glamour.  You wouldn’t be happy, and you weren’t accomplishing the dreams you wanted to achieve in life. The experience even end up taking away some of the passion you had for movies, since you associated the negatives of the retail business environment to the product you peddle : the movies.

Heck, you’ll soon begin to hate movies and stars – the very species you were once ready to die for.

I remember reading Jeff Elgin on passion in Franchisee business.  Excerpts –

“In any life endeavor, your chances of success increase greatly if you’re passionate about your desired goal. Passion is a huge source of energy–it drives people to accomplish whatever they set out to do. And, let’s face it, it’s far more rewarding and satisfying to strive for something you’re passionate about.

But as a franchisee, do you need to be passionate about the product or service your franchise is providing to be successful ? Furthermore, do you need to be passionate about the franchise business at all to be successful?

Truthfully, the answer is no.

You don’t need to be gaga over grass to be a great lawn-care franchisee. There’s no need to be passionate about dog poop to become a super-duper pooper-scooper. And yes, even a vegetarian can make a great fast-food franchisee. You don’t need passion for the franchise’s product or service–but you do need passion for some personal result that you believe you can achieve by being a franchisee.

The simple reality is that when most people become franchisees, their motivation isn’t to buy a specific business; their desire is to buy a certain outcome in their life they’d like to see as a result of buying a franchise. The specific product or service involved is often the least of their considerations–as long as they see the business having a high likelihood of producing that outcome. To be a successful franchisee, your passion for the outcome you seek will give you the drive and energy to overcome the obstacles involved with setting up any new franchise operation.

It’s also very important that you’re completely comfortable with the role you’ll have as a franchisee. If you’re only passionate about the product or service, it can actually be detrimental to success–especially if that passion leads you to get involved in a franchise business that otherwise doesn’t match well with your skills and goals.

Don’t get hung up on the product; it’s the results that matter. You should focus on the result you want in your life, whether that’s more free time, more responsibility, more income–whatever’s driving your passion”.

Now tell me, what `outcome’ are you passionate about ?

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4 Responses to “Don’t reduce passion to a cliche”

  1. Jason Drohn Says:

    Very nice little rant.. A lot of it comes across in presentation I think. The downside is, I suck at presentations. It makes you wonder how many people truly have great ideas, with no one who believes in them because they don’t have visible ‘passion!’

  2. Ben Casnocha Says:

    Agreed that you can be passionate about the *ends* without being passionate about the *means*. For example I know a guy who’s selling a children’s toy to 9 year olds. He’s not passionate at all about the toy, but he is about building a business that brings smiles on girls’ faces.

  3. krish Says:

    Jason,

    My whole point is in the form of expression of passion. Passion should be seen without being shown. It’s part of a VC skill set to see how passionate the founder is about his business in the way he solved each little problem he encountered while on the way. Obviously if you are allotted ( it has become sort of fashionable ) just 30 sec as in Business Plan contests, there’s no scope for bringing out your passion, much less being noticed by VC. Even if you suck at presentations, great VCs will see the potential of the idea, get curious, dig deep and bring out what you are out to achieve.

  4. Angel Startups Says:

    Passion is definitely helpful when dealing with investors – we know investors who place a lot of importance on the energy levels of the entrepreneurs!

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