Passion alone, is not enough.
I learned this cold hard truth when my power was shut off because I hadn’t paid my PG&E bill. Passion can get you started, but it needs to be paired with hard work to keep the lights on.
As an entrepreneur, I have learned that passion on it’s own will not build a thriving business that is both sustainable and profitable. My passion project, Zeal Pressed Juicery, had gone from a hobby or side fun hustle to legitimate enterprise with a few people working with me. I was now being counted on to provide a living for a few families, not just my own. With that sense of responsibility I quickly realized that my passion was no longer just “my baby”. I had to learn my numbers and figure out all the logistics and legalities of running a real business.
Approximately half of all small businesses will close their doors before their fifth anniversary and the owner will return to a corporate job to work for someone else’s dream. Passion will get us started, but can fade when the business side becomes a harsh reality. Knowing your numbers, understanding your customers and scaling your business is essential for success. While numbers may not be your thing, it is a crucial part of the business that you must know like the back of your hand. This is where you can first identify problem areas in your business and determine whether or not you will make payroll at the end of the week.
We may think that we can do it all, but more often than not, we need a solid core team to fill the areas where we lack. Steve Jobs said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” and that’s exactly how we have been able to come this far in our cold-pressed juice business. If you do not have a team that propels you towards building the business, then you may be running yourself to the ground and that is not a healthy way to build a business that will stand the test of time.
As entrepreneurs, we believe that we can make our dream work. However, not studying and understanding the business aspect of it and honing our business skills will only set us up for failure. At the end of the day, revenue is what will keep your doors open and the lights on. There are only so many costs you can reduce costs and overhead. At some point, creating more revenue will be your focus. Having a mature understanding of how a small business works and knowing your numbers will be what sets your business apart from the competition without compromising your vision or the need to cut corners.
While other businesses do it only for the money, you can be sure that your business and brand will thrive and live beyond the five years because you’ve done it, not only with passion, but with a solid understanding of how a business operates, a firm work ethic and passion for serving your customers.