Love Your Business, But Not Too Much

April 11th, 2009 by | Print

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You’ve probably heard more than one business guru acquaint you with the idea, “do what you love”. I, too, believe that passion for your purpose is one integral component of a successful business plan. Let me stress the word “one”. If you are over 25 then I am safe in assuming that you have experienced the burn of blind love. There is a fine line between love being a driving force for success and blinding you into a brick wall.

 

I believe in being an optimistic realist. I believe in challenging your capabilities and the modus operandi of business. Stepping into this unfamiliar territory is what is commonly referred to as “risk”. However, there is a grand gap between calculated risk and blind faith. And what is the fuel behind the force of blind faith? Passion. Love.

 

Following are 4 critical criteria for differentiating a love that pays dividends versus one that can leave you scornful.

 

Don’t Forget to Date

Research and planning are an important phase in your decision to marry yourself to a business. Make sure that you have adequate time to understand this new life that you are going to create together and the commitment that will be required.

 

Sure there are some successful marriages following a short courtship. As a matter of fact, I asked my wife to marry me within three months of our first date. But, I was almost 30 and had been through a few relationships prior to popping the questions. So I had the experience of knowing what kind of relationship I was best suited for and would be the best for me.

 

Now with this analogy I am not suggesting that you can’t create a business in an industry other than what your resume may indicate. Experience within a market will significantly shorten the amount of time that you need for research and planning. However, if you are rushing to market in a Vegas style wedding having just met your betrothed at the black jack tables the night before, good luck with making it to your second anniversary. Don’t let the love of the idea blind you to the importance of researching whether you have common ideals and planning out how to achieve your goals.

 

Opposites May Attract, But They Don’t Work

Maybe you have some hidden talents waiting for a challenge. But I wouldn’t bet your business on them. If your investment and risk are small then you have little to lose. But if your kids’ clothing, schooling and daily diet relies upon the success of your idea, don’t allow the love for it blind you to an honest introspection of your abilities.

 

You can apply abilities to different industries. A talented marketer can create marketing strategies and implement tactics in variety of markets. However, if you are an extraordinary sales person that had trouble building with Legos as a kid, don’t create a company that requires you to be an engineer. Common sense, right? Sure, but, there are more than just a few failed ideas that hopeful entrepreneurs pumped money into – mainly over the love of making money. Just because someone else made money with an idea that seemed simple doesn’t mean that you have the expertise to do the same.

 

Money Is the #1 Cause for Divorce

Proper financial planning is imperative to a successful, sustainable business. There are unknowns that can and usually will take a bite out of your bank account. Planning every little penny isn’t a wise strategy. But, you can create a plan that includes a reasonable buffer of cash for these nasty little surprises.

 

I know that when I felt like I was ready to have kids, I seriously wondered whether my income was sufficient enough. Silly considering that I was making a six figure income and didn’t have the disease of spending every dime that I earned. I had plenty of disposable income to start a family. However, love isn’t all that you need. A proper plan for cash flow will keep you in love.

 

Get the Advice of an Expert

Have you seen the early episodes of American Idol that mainly focus on the broken dreams of the talentless? Some poor soul pours their soul into a tune that they just can’t carry and awaits the admiration of the judges for channeling the very essence of Elvis.

 

In their tearful interview with Ryan, they spew wicked wishes for Simon, confirm the fact that Paula is on crack, and believe that kind-hearted Randy must be mistaken. How can they dismiss the critiques from judges who have made millions in the industry when mom and dad told them that they could sing? Love for the notion that of being a star.

 

Unless mom is Madonna or dad is Steven Tyler, they aren’t qualified to judge whether junior’s talents meet the requirements and rigors for the music industry. Find an industry expert to review your plan before getting your hopes high. Mom and dad don’t qualify (unless they have experience in your industry). And if everyone including mom and dad tell you that your plan has some problems, don’t let the love for your business idea fuel the fire even more to prove them wrong.

 

Yes, there is always the slim (very slim) possibility that you can get lucky by jumping into an unfamiliar market at the right time and succeed with a plan that others scoff at – but I hope that your name is Richard Branson. Don’t let your love of an idea dismiss these important points prior to starting your business. Spend your love on an opportunity that you are best suited for.

 

All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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