Get All Access for $5/mo

Why You Need More Than Passion to Succeed In Business Essential skills are needed to launch and sustain a company.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're full of it -- passion, that is. But if you think it's all you need to succeed in business, it's overrated for entrepreneurs.

People might point to passion as the one thing that helped them launch a multimillion dollar empire, muster the courage to walk off a dead-end job or overcome insurmountable challenges along the path of entrepreneurship. But this oversimplifies the process.

If you want to succeed in business, you'll need more than passion. Here are six fundamental reasons why:

Related: How to Transform Your Passion into a Successful Business

1. Expertise to deliver value

You may be passion drunk, but your first priority in business is to establish an area of expertise or core competency that will enable you to distinguish yourself from your peers and let your reputation permeate the marketplace. To do so, amass and leverage your knowledge, skills and experience to attract clients and help them to effectively solve problems.

Without sufficient expertise, it's difficult if not impossible to deliver value. In a world where substance and the final sum measure success, passion is no substitute for competence.

Related: Ashton Kutcher: What Matters Is Entrepreneurial 'Grit'

2. Grit to continue the pursuit

When times get tough in your business, will you dig deeper and manage the crisis or surrender to circumstances and claim defeat?

While passion may have initially ignited the fire in your belly, true grit is what will keep the fire burning. Angela Lee Duckworth, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, considers true grit a highly relevant performance metric, just as critical as IQ. She has written that grit is "the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals."

At some point, performing at higher, less comfortable levels for sustained periods will be essential for your long-term success. Will your performance pass muster?

Related: Seven Secrets to Resilience

3. Resilience to recover from hardship

Every business encounters some turbulence at one time or another. Without resilience, however, it's tough to survive the uncertainty and the downturns of the business cycle.

You may not be able to control what happens in the marketplace or how events affect your business, but you can control your responses.

By recognizing that change is inevitable and that a resilient mindset (not passion) is critical to successfully navigating hardship, you can emerge from tough times stronger and even more capable.

Related: 5 Key Characteristics Every Entrepreneur Should Have

4. Resourcefulness to manage assets

In a competitive marketplace, you need creative ways to achieve results even without having lots of means at your disposal. That's where being resourceful is critical.

Bootstrapping your business, for example, can let you to grow a company without taking investors with strings attached. Your ability to strategically assemble needed resources will help determine your success.

Related: 5 ways to Get Out of Startup Mode And Grow Your Business

5. Urgency to make forward progress

Without an internal push to inspire you to take the next, timely step, your company could languish in obscurity. Change expert John P. Kotter referred to having urgency instead of complacency, noting that, "With an attitude of true urgency, you try to accomplish something important every day."

Having a passion without a true sense of urgency might result in your refraining from taking vital action needed to advance your goals.

6. Courage to prompt action

Many business owners experienced fear. But your success is determined by taking action in spite of it. That's courage. The late management consultant Peter F. Drucker said, "Whenever you see a successful business, [you know that] someone once made a courageous decision."

Every business owner tries reach certain milestones, and without courage, most would be unattainable. When confronted by fear, your passion may subside. Your purpose may even become muddled. But courage can help you to embrace your purpose gain.

Are you passionate about your business and the value you bring to the marketplace? Let's hope so. Passion is useful and plays an important role in creating feelings of enthusiasm and excitement. But passion alone is insufficient. You need an arsenal of fundamental skills to succeed in business. Go ahead. Create your arsenal and watch your success take flight.

Related: Successful Entrepreneurs Exude Courage

Karima Mariama-Arthur

Founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport

Karima Mariama-Arthur is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. that specializes in professional development. She trains, coaches and consults for individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.