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5 things the World Cup can teach entrepreneurs

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The World Cup comes once every four years. It is where FIFA puts 32 nations on stage to battle for the title of the ‘Very Best” in the whole world. The event captivates spectators, fans and even naysayers.

There are lessons that entrepreneurs can pick from this event and apply to their business; so if you are a football fan who is always watching the matches, here are some lessons you can derive from the games apart from the entertainment.

Winning does not always depend on talent:
Spain captured the World Cup four years ago and people were expecting them to do the same this year. They had some of the best players in the world, some who play for Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was quite easy to place a bet on their win.

But what happened to Spain? They exited after thrashing by Netherlands. Italy and England face the same fate, giving way to less talented teams.

These exits can teach an entrepreneur that talent alone is not enough for success in business. You need to combine it with innovation, effort and strategy.

Community is your brand’s best companion:
Leading brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and many more are riding on the wave created by World Cup. They have compelling campaigns capitalizing on people’s passion for World Cup.

They focused their products and services to the football community rather than the products themselves.

As an entrepreneur, this should remind you on the importance of building community for your customers and prospects.

Put more effort on information, education and service rather than on self-promotion alone. This will help promote the awareness of your products or services.

The small fry has a role on the big stage:
Many of the 16 teams that emerged into the knockout rounds were underdogs. Countries like the U.S., Greece and Costa Rica came out of very difficult groups and emerged ahead of teams like Portugal, Spain, England and Italy.

The lesson you can pick from this is that the biggest players and not always the best to deliver the products and services that customers require.

It reminds small entrepreneurs that they can provide differentiation and unique value even if they are smaller and with less experience.

Scarcity is very relevant:
Why did FIFA decide to have the World Cup after every four years? You would be tempted to suggest to FIFA that they should have the World Cup tournaments annually or after every two year.

FIFA decided on the four year rounds to create greater interest as the event nears. To create ‘scarcity’ so that when it finally comes, it will be much more interesting.

As an entrepreneur you can also learn from this. While it is not wise to have your client wait, you can have a truly unique differentiator that makes your product or service memorable.

Find something that brings that sense of ‘scarcity’ for your product or service.

Strategy levels the business-playing field:
In Costa Rica’s match against the Dutch, they knew that they were outmanned. So what strategy did they use? The offside trap. The Costa Rica team stopped the Dutch defense progress more than a dozen times and won an offsides penalty.

No one would have imagined that Costa Rica would hold up the Dutch team to penalty kicks in the semifinals.

To an entrepreneur, this reminds you that you need a strategy. Businesses with talent, plan and strategy go deep into competitive battles than businesses with talent alone.

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