Regardless of how large or small a company is today – its inception was the result of someone’s passion. Running your own business when there might initially be a team of one – YOU – will require a lot of effort on your part. You will multi-task like never before. You’ll face challenges that perhaps when you were employed were shielded from you. You’ll need to learn how to take control of all aspects of your business, from the planning, finance, marketing, to the sales, promotion and customer care. Successful entrepreneurs live, breathe and eat their business. Do you have the Passion Factor? Passion in what you do? Passion in why you are doing it? Passion for being the best and willing to continually learn? Passion for working hard? (yet knowing when to kick back and recharge?) Passion for business and making money? Passion for people? (essential in customer service/client-facing industries!) Passion for service and customer care? Passion for moving on if something doesn’t work out rather than giving up? Why is genuine passion such an important aspect of a successful business? As business owners, we need to love the product or service we offer our customers. If we’re a bit flaky on the passion and our authenticity our customers will pick up on this and won’t emotionally or physically buy into what we are offering. If your goal for your entrepreneurial venture is simply to make money and you are not really caring how you do it, you will portray this in everything you do and quite simply, it will not work. Nowadays, Customers are seeking “added value” before they make a purchase decision and by having an honest passion in what you do will increase your chances of securing a sale and getting repeat business. They will want to “buy” some of your passion by buying from you. Your genuine Passion Factor is what will help differentiate you and your business. Why Passion for Learning? You may well have a passion for your particular niche in the marketplace but this doesn’t immediately translate into being a successful Entrepreneur. There will be many essential areas which will require effort to learn and grasp. For example, you may not naturally be a Financier but don’t have a ‘head in the sand’ approach and rely on others to do this for you. Take time to learn – understand how to read monthly financial reports, understand your running costs and know where you are spending your money and above all, determine your own pricing structure – know your costs and your profit requirements. Also, learn about Marketing, you don’t need to know how to create a website, nor do you need to be able to design – but you do need to get into the minds of your customers and know what they want, what motivates them to purchase and understand what makes them tick. Use this information to brief the experts – but be knowledgeable yourself. Limit what you leave to chance. Why Passion for Working Hard (yet knowing when to kick back)? Quite simply, working for yourself will be totally time-consuming – not only in physical hours but in mental hours too. As soon as you are responsible for paying yourself you will realise that the buck stops with you. Suddenly everything matters. If you have passion of course, working hard will not be a hardship because you know that every effort you put in should and will reap rewards – from which you will benefit. Be prepared to work into the evenings and weekends – particularly initially when you are still learning the basics and you are still researching your market and refining your offering. If you think that you will begrudge this effort, you need to question and consider why you want to work for yourself. Hard work with balance is key. You will need your family’s support so involve them and don’t let them become resentful. Let them see what this business means to you so they can support you. Kick back time will recharge you and avoid burnout. Why Passion for Success? Regardless of why many of us start our own businesses, all of us have our interpretation of success and what that means to us. Success is not ‘one size fits all’. At the very start of considering running your own business, you need to be very clear on your reasons for taking this big step. You should write down all of your expectations and what success means to you (not what it means to your family/friends). Add a timescale against each of these expectations and of course, be realistic. You will need to refer to these “Success Criteria” throughout your journey – when the going gets tough, which it inevitably will. You will need a reminder of WHY you started this in the first place! Sometimes the criteria may change/evolve over time but it is these success criteria that will drive your passion – they are your real motivation for working for yourself.