A few years ago, I read Maverick at Work, a book about companies that are built around passion. Imagine! It’s almost counter-intuitive.
These companies do not care about the customer (well they do ultimately, but get there in a different way). Foremost, they care (passionately) about what they do.
The book describes a company with a passion to build the best board games in the world. And they do. And because they are the best board games, people buy them ... you get the picture.
Passion is an increasingly recurring theme in business. It has always been identified as a key success factor when starting a business (I suggest you read Fire in Belly by Yanky Fachler). It is a ‘tick box’ for ‘business angels’ and venture capitalists. Soon it will be a ‘tick box’ for banks (if not already). No passion will equal no funding.
It is now becoming part of marketing strategy. Kotler, in his latest book, Marketing 3.0, refers to spiritual marketing, driven by the passion and purpose of the organisation. Without that, you can’t connect and engage with your customers. You can't compete with passion.
There are increasing amounts of HR theories that suggest you should recruit on passion, not on skills or experience (you can learn skills — passion you can’t teach).
In a hyper-connected, social media, transparent 3.0 world, your staff are all becoming brand ambassadors, telling the compelling story of your business through Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. Or not — with the subsequent damage to your brand (news travels fast online). HR therefore equals marketing.
Obviously storytelling and passion go hand-in-hand too. Ever tried to listen to somebody who is bored, disinterested and does not ‘give a toss’? That links passion to strategy (everybody following the same story and caring about it), pitching and selling. Passion therefore affects your bottom line.
Apart from all of that, I can’t imagine anybody wanting to start or grow a business, with the hard work, stress, financial strain and risk, without being in love with what they are doing. Doesn’t sound like fun either. Passion is fun.
Passion was certainly on display at our recent Start-Up Live events in the north west and in Belfast. We had dozens of local business people sharing their ideas and stories in a very passionate way. We’ll be doing the same in Cookstown in November. To find out more and to register, go to www.smallbusinesscan.com.
Smallbusinesscan is a portal site for discussions, articles and advice on all kinds of financial, legal, HR and tech issues that face start-ups and other small companies.