Passion is an overused word for many small business owners: People might point to passion as the one thing that helped them build highly profitable businesses, or overcome challenges along the path of entrepreneurship. Here is something to think about; is your passion enough to build a thriving business? Will passion help when a crisis hits?

Guest Bio: Ms Mukonki Mukonkela a chartered accountant, co-founder and Director of SME Accounting Services Limited. 


What Does Passion Mean to You?

Mukonki: Passion means the energy and will for me to continue working on the things I love doing. It means remembering why my work is important to my clients, my family and my employees. I am passionate about building businesses, in fact this is what lead me to starting my own business and helping SMEs to build and grow their businesses. 

Why is passion essential in a business?

Mukonki: Passion is what gives you the energy to face challenges that you will encounter in business. Building a business requires a lot from you as an individual, especially when the business is new and no one understands what you do. It can be easy for you to lose the energy and give up. Passion is what provides you with the energy you need to face obstacles and continue on your journey to building a great business.

If you are not passionate about your business, expect your employees and your customers not to be passionate about it.

Many of us have heard someone say to us “follow your passion.” that’s all you need to do to succeed, while it’s true in some cases, it doesn't always translate into automatic success. From your own experience, why isn’t passion enough when it comes to building a business?

Mukonki: I think it’s important to be passionate about your skills or career, but you need to remember that to build a business you need a lot more than been skilled or loving what you do. In-fact people who are passionate about business rather than their skill, trade or career generally succeed much more than those who are passionate only about their skill or career. This is because to grow a business you need to develop several other skills. 

You may be surprised, if I tell you that I am not really passionate about accounting, but I am passionate about building businesses and helping people grow their business. In order for me to help others build and grow their businesses, I have had to learn and develop other skills that I did not have, such marketing, customer service, networking, finance, how to manage staff and all the other areas that go to make up a successful business.

I have seen people run out of the original passion they had when they started their business. Passion does run out…?

Mukonki: True, in fact after a while you need skills and expertise to help you grow a business and make enough money to sustain your business.

But remember that your passion should not be for money but for what your business is about. Those entrepreneurs that have passion only at the beginning and lose it in the middle are the ones that do not really love their trade and don’t understand what their business is about, instead they only love the money that they can get form this kind of business. This is the kind of passion that burns out. But if you have a vision for your business and love the kind of trade that you have chosen, your passion for it will never burn out. 

You should also not create a business just because you see that someone else has had success from operating that same business. Their results will not guarantee you the same results. This is why you should only create a business that you are passionate about. 

Passion is what drives you to succeed because you are completely dedicated to making your business work no matter how hard the process may be.

I do believe you need to have some type of passion to have a successful business. But, don’t you think your passion can also be dangerous to your business?

Mukonki: Passion can make you do things that aren’t worth doing. 

For example, you may have created a product or service that you are passionate about. The product may be beautiful or the service may be great for your customers, and they may be willing to pay for it. But, creating the product or delivering the service may cost you time, money, or give you headaches. In the end, the product probably wasn’t worth the effort. This is misplaced passion and you may have to recognize when your passion is misplaced. Passion might tell you one thing, but logic might tell you another. Weigh both to make smart choices for your business.

If Passion alone won’t build a business, what else is needed in addition to passion in order to build and run a profitable business?

Mukonki: To run a profitable business you need to have;

1. The ability to manage money.

If you can’t manage money, you can’t manage a business. Do you know where your money goes each month? Do you live off less than you earn? If the answer to these questions is no, you’ll struggle to manage a business budget as well.

2. The ability to identify strengths and weaknesses.

As a business owner, you don’t need to be perfect at everything. You do, however, have to understand where you’re strong and where you’re weak. Assessing this will inform everything from the business decisions you make, to the partners you bring on, and to the employees you hire.

3. The ability to hire effective people.

Speaking of hiring, this is easily one of the most important skills any entrepreneur could have. Having great people on your team will give you access to new strengths, while also building a company culture that people want to be a part of. Hiring the right people is essential to get where you want to go.

4. The ability to deal with failure.

No business venture is a straight line to success; knowing how to deal with ups and downs is essential. Remember that every successful person out their failed dozens of times before getting a win. Failure isn’t the end - it’s just a data point on the way to success.

Guest Advise: Passion gives you the courage to handle obstacles that you will face when building a business, however building a business demands much more than passion. A key lesson is to be passionate but also wise enough to consider other factors that result in a successful business. 

If you have a comment, please feel free to add your thoughts. In the meantime like our Facebook page and tune into ZNBC radio 4 for the NdalamaInsights radio Show every Tuesday 07:15 and Wednesday 17:30 or Listen to a recorded podcast of this episode





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