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Build A Cause, Not Just A Business

I was asked to review applications for a new seed capital acceleration program getting underway here in Quebec City. As I read the submissions, I started to realize something.

I can’t get excited about almost any of them. It’s sad to say, but it’s true.

Each submission proposed to solve some kind of problem for their target market, each had an interesting technology to develop.

But each submission was also too…businesslike. Why is this not necessarily a good thing?

Why should “passion” be part of a business? Passion is the energy that moves a project forward, and attracts clients who appreciate the value of what you offer and who are ready to buy.

If you look at businesses who are successful, especially those operating in very competitive environments, their success has a lot to do with the passion they generate: Apple, Southwest, Porter Airlines, Porsche… Their value goes beyond the atoms they build or the bits they create or the services they provide, they also elicit strong emotions. People love them or don’t – they are rarely indifferent. But these business create a loyalty among their clients and supporters, assuring a long-term success.

Passion is generated by the creative tension between what is and what you want to create. The bolder the vision, the stronger the tension and the greater energy you can unleash.

I believe that any business project needs just two basic ingredients: time and passion. Bring these two elements together and you can do anything. Money is a way of leveraging time, so you can accelerate your progress. But money is not essential to business success.

If you’re in business to make money or to do your job, that is not enough to succeed. Money without passion does not motivate, and will not get you through the challenges you need to overcome in order to succeed and prosper.

What people want more than money, is to contribute to something greater than themselves. Be it your employees, your suppliers, your investors or your customers, you will generate a lot more loyalty and support by building a cause instead of just a business. With a cause, everyone wins.

By “building a cause” I don’t mean simply giving to charity. It has to be bigger than that: by doing what you do, you are directly making the world better for your clients, for yourself and for all the stakeholders in your project.

Being too “businesslike” – cold, detached, clinical – removes the emotional element which gets people to sign on to what you offer.

People are not really interested in what you do. What people want to know, and what they can get behind, is what you can do for them. How can you change their world for the better?

Stop pitching your product and start promoting your passion. This is how you will attract the money, the clients, the talent and all the other resources you need to make your bold dream a reality.

For more information

Related post: “Got Mojo? The Spark That Makes Your Product Come Alive”
http://blog.davender.com/2009/08/podcast-got-mojo-the-spark-that-makes-your-product-come-alive/

The seed capital accelerator I am a member of is called V3-Ventures
http://V3-Ventures.com (French only)

Image credit: Rasmin via Flickr
Direct link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rasmin/3484200308/
Used under Creative Commons 2.0 licence

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