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  • Writer's pictureBonny Van Rest

4 Steps to Define Your Entrepreneurial Passion

Finding the Sweet Spot between Product and Market Interests

I feel inspired when meeting someone who has reinvented themselves by jumping into the unknown and starting their own business that they really enjoy and love. Entrepreneurs are confident, committed and full of energy when they are pursuing their passion. It’s contagious and motivating, and there is an important lesson we can all learn from these individuals.

In our earlier blog, we introduced you to the Entrepreneurial Design Framework, and shared a deep dive into the first P, Purpose. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the second ingredient for a thriving business: Passion.

One person sitting wearing a hat and apron using a computer while another person leans over them while also wearing an apron.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

For 39% of entrepreneurs, ‘pursuing their passion’ is what drove them to start a business of their own. Many of us have a passion, but not all necessarily turn into business ideas. So, what is it that successful entrepreneurs do to turn their interests into thriving businesses?

What is Entrepreneurial Passion?

Entrepreneurs who are running thriving businesses can be passionate about many things. Some are passionate about a specific product, solution or technology, while others may be passionate about a day-to-day problem they are experiencing, a change in the market or industry, or a social, economic, or environmental issue.

For any of these passions to become a viable business, both the problem as well as the solution need to come together, in what we refer to as your sweet spot.

It is in this sweet spot that entrepreneurial passion really accelerates, because this is where your passion intersects with your audience’s passion. This can happen in two ways: One, you start with a product or solution you’re passionate about and find the right audience that cares about it as much as you do. It’s a win-win. Alternatively, you start with a need in the marketplace that you also care about, and use your unique value and skill set to develop a solution. Again, a win-win formula that finds reciprocity between the product and the market needs.

In our Entrepreneurial Design™ Framework, we define Entrepreneurial Passion as “That one thing that you deliver on better than anyone else and love doing every day”, implying the important connection between your passion, what unique value you provide, and the needs or desires of your audience.

We believe that there are 4 questions that need to be answered to define your Entrepreneurial Passion. Let's get into it!

1. Market Driven or Product Driven?

Try to define whether your idea is more market driven (an unmet need or desire) or product driven (a product/ solution you are introducing).

Let’s look at two well-known examples. Apple is a product driven company, focusing on product first, and finding the right audience, or creating a need for it second. Conversely, Amazon, originally founded to meet the worldwide demand for literature, was a market driven solution that emanated from a market demand first, before evolving into the worldwide array of solutions it delivers today. Although these brands are now amongst the largest global companies of today, both started humbly with a purpose, the passion of the founder(s), and the few resources they had to bring it to life.

2. What is your sweet spot?

If your passion is more market driven, first ensure that you have a clear vision of the needs and desires of your audience. Then, ask yourself what value or unique skillset you have to offer as a solution to this problem or need. Alternatively, when your passion is more product driven, first define what is unique about your idea or solution, and then identify how this solution adds value for its user or consumers.

When looking at my own entrepreneurial journey, I started with a market driven passion. I am keenly interested in the uniqueness of people and personalities, and how all of us are exploring our respective journeys. From this perspective, it’s challenging to see that there are entrepreneurs who know what it is they’re passionate about, yet struggle to stay afloat. So, with an extensive background in developing strategies, implementing change, and running departments, combined with a genuine interest in what drives and motivates people, I’m grateful to have found my sweet spot in helping entrepreneurs to translate their vision into actionable strategies.

3. Who are your competitors, and what advantage do you have over them?

Next, you’ll need to find the differentiator of your sweet spot in the marketplace. Are there any others providing an alternative solution to the same problem?

When researching your competitors, it is important to look both your solution and your market need. From a solutions side, are there any others out there providing a similar product or solution to you? What makes your solution different or unique? And from the market side, are there any competitors serving the same market need, but with a different solution? Are there any segments in the market that are not being served by competitors?

A helpful tool to use is a Perceptual Map of your competitors, used to map all your competitors on the two most distinguishing parameters in your industry, and providing insight into areas that are currently under served. Use these outcomes to refine your sweet spot, ensuring your offering is differentiated and/or unique.

4. Who can help you accelerate your passion?

When scaling your business idea, you will soon realize that it’s impossible to do it all by yourself. Not all the things that come with running your own business may be things that you enjoy doing or are good at, but you don’t want your passion for it to get lost.

How do you find the right people? Focus not only on skills and experience, but ensure that the people that you gather around you share the same passion for the business and know what unique value it is that they bring to the table. This will allow your passion to accelerate further and to celebrate with people you share your excitement with along the way.

Could your passion turn into a thriving business?

Next Up – Profit.

Now that you have identified your purpose and defined your entrepreneurial passion, our next blog will help you ensure that your business is also financially sustainable. Keep an eye out on our channels as we deep dive next into the role that Profit plays in building thriving businesses.

(image description: One person sitting wearing a hat and apron using a computer while another person leans over them while also wearing an apron.)


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