Having attended the Mumbai OH last weekend, one thing that you couldn’t miss was the passion in the room. Both on stage, and in the audience, the passion and energy were extremely contagious…Recap by fellow Rodinhooders here and here, and I’m sure there’ll be more to come.
However, what I wanted to do today is start a conversation and have a contrarian view around something that you think is a must have in your business – “Passion”
So here it is:
As I was driving home that evening, and thinking of all the startups that presented, I felt there was at least one common string that tied them together (other than trying to raise money that is).
Being a 3rd person, and having an outside view of their businesses in 15-20 minutes, I know I could be totally wrong, but here’s what I felt:
Each one of them was so deeply passionate about their businesses, that they were unable to see things that were obvious in front of them or in the periphery. It was like, passion was bordering on denial.
I know, that’s a little strong statement…so let me back that up with questions that we can use as a basis of discussion in the comments section below:
- Are you so focused on customer service and making the customer happy, that you start losing sight on what it costs to do that, and whether it’s sustainable?
- While you may be extremely good at what you do, and hence the reason for starting your own venture…have you been able to build a team around you that’s equally good (if not more) in serving your customers, so that you can focus on other things?
- When was the last time you did anything to make yourself redundant from the business? I understand that delegation and allocating tasks to other employees comes over a period of time, however, the earlier you can start stepping away from day to day operations, the earlier you would be able to focus on the long term vision
- Does your passion (intangible) translate into key benefits (tangible) for your customers, something that differentiates your product / services from your competitors, and builds a significant entry barrier for competition?
- Finally, keeping passion constant, are you continuously iterating your business models to the changing environment around you?
I’ll conclude by saying that, while a lot of us start our businesses because we’re passionate about something…not each one of us is suited to take it to the next level. In cases like these, maybe think of having one of your other co-founders, or hiring an external resource to run the business, while you keep focused on doing things you do well.
PS: To all presenters: I truly respect you going on stage and discussing your startup challenges, and I hope this post gives you another perspective.