Passion versus Wisdom: Turning a Great Idea into a Business Venture

Passion versus Wisdom: Turning a Great Idea into a Business Venture

by Bill Burnham | June 17, 2021

It’s a battle that is as old as time itself. At one point or another we have all gone through it. Passion and wisdom are enemies both fighting for our attention, our time, and our money. Wisdom is the quiet, logical one while passion is emotional and outspoken. Passion knows our weaknesses and exploits them in an attempt to gain control of our attention, time, and money.

See if this scenario sounds familiar. Apple just released the latest iPhone. Your current phone is almost paid off and works just fine. Your monthly budget is a little tight and you have been looking forward to not having that monthly phone payment. Wisdom tells you this is a good thing and yet…you cannot stop thinking about that new phone with all those great new features you don’t really need. Soon your old phone doesn’t seem so great. It has so many shortcomings. Sound familiar? That is passion convincing you that you NEED that phone that you only WANT.

That is the battle of wisdom versus passion and just as it plays out in our personal lives, it will also play out in our business lives.

As we evaluate an idea, we have for a business we need to be aware of this inner battle. Passion for your idea may improve the odds of success however, just because we love to cook, that doesn’t mean opening a restaurant is a good idea. If we follow the logical path, that wisdom suggests we look at the feasibility of the idea and make our decision based on the results.

Scientists believe that it is the portion of our brain called the limbic system that processes emotions. The limbic system is relatively small and located in the center of the brain. Scientists also believe that stimuli that we receive pass through the limbic system first before being routed to other areas of our brain for further processing. Those things that are emotional in nature tend to bounce around in the limbic system until the brain receives additional stimuli to route them to another part of the brain. Hopefully, something eventually triggers the brain to move that emotional stimulus to the frontal lobe which is where logical thinking takes place.

So what we need is a method for stimulating our brains to begin thinking logically about an idea instead of emotionally.

I suggest you ask yourself the series of questions below and provide honest answers.

  • What is my product or service?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • How is this problem currently being solved?
  • Who is going to by my product/service?
  • Why do they buy?
  • Why will they buy from me?
  • How many of them are there?
  • How much money would I like to make?
  • What are my costs both fixed and variable going to be?
  • How many can I sell?

Just THINK about it. Truthfully answering these questions will allow you to make the wise decision when it come to that new business idea.

  • Bill Burnham

    Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa

    Specialty: Accounting, Business Planning, Business Valuation, Cash Flow Management, Financial Management, Growth, QuickBooks

    Bill Burnham is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida where he majored in accounting. He obtained his MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. Burnham has more than 25 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies, nearly 20 of those years in management positions. During that time he managed more than 200 employees and spent time in accounting, finance, manufacturing, production control and strategic planning. He managed government contract budgets in excess of $50 million dollars and operating budgets of more than $25 million dollars.

    He prepared analysis for potential acquisitions, proposals for government contracts and conducted company-wide training programs on several different topics. Complementing his large company background, Burnham also has 15 years of experience as a small business owner in industries as diverse as dry cleaning and home health care. In addition to those endeavors he has also worked as a business broker and business valuator performing valuations and selling business throughout the state of Florida. He has hands on knowledge in business planning, budgeting, forecasting, profit and loss management, cash management, business sales, business valuation and franchise operations. Burnham is also a Certified LivePlan Expert Advisor, QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, Strategic Management Performance Systems certified, and a Profit Mastery Facilitator. Burnham was the 2018 Consultant of the Year for the Florida SBDC at USF region.

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