Friday, March 24, 2023

Cup of Life: What the FIFA World Cup Teaches Us About Running a Business

To billions of football fans, it’s the Greatest Show on Earth. And they’re not wrong!

The spectacle that is the FIFA World Cup has gotten bigger and grander over the years. This year’s edition in Qatar, the 22nd running of the competition from 20 November to 18 December, promises to be the most magnificent, most watched and most expensive of them all.

Nevertheless, the competition is more than state-of-the-art stadiums, a revolutionary new football, advancements in viewing technology or money-spinning merchandise. It’s about 32 national sides competing to be the best of the best in men’s football and capturing the hopes and dreams of the entire world in the process.

Beyond sporting action, there is much to learn from the World Cup, not just for football fans but business leaders and owners too. In conjunction with the tournament, here are five lessons from World Cups past to inspire QNET entrepreneurs.

1. Performance matters more than branding

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Thanks to brilliant marketing and the success of the English Premier League, the England national team ranks among the most popular footballing sides in the world. But success isn’t entirely about commerce, and the record shows that the Three Lions haven’t always lived up to expectations at the World Cup.

Yes, branding and marketing are important, and in the case of direct selling, they are crucial to bringing business owners to the attention of customers. Nevertheless, they only add value to your business if you’re focused and professional, meet targets, and serve customers with dedication.

2. Talent doesn’t guarantee success

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Like marketing, talent and skills can only help teams succeed if and when they’re complemented with hard work and discipline. Indeed, there’ve been many examples of hugely talented sides — like Brazil in 1966 and Spain in 2014 — being dumped out of the competition by less illustrious opponents.

The lesson for entrepreneurs, thus, is that resting on one’s laurels and talent doesn’t lead to victory. Augmenting one’s entrepreneurial gifts with focus, dedication, effort, and belief can, however, give you a fighting chance.

3. A supportive community is crucial

The passion and commitment of fans have helped buoy many a team at the World Cup. Iceland’s successful Russia 2018 campaign has been attributed in part to the devotion of the team’s fans and their thunderous Viking claps.

Yet, strong relationships aren’t built in a day, which is why business owners must work towards developing a supportive community.

Loyalty, remember, comes from trust. And to gain the loyal support of customers, associates and team members, one must always strive to do what’s right.

4. Belief is everything 

No one gave Cameroon a chance at Italia 1990. A team of unknowns with only a handful of professional players, the expectation was that the side would crumble against mighty Argentina in the opening match and promptly be booted out of the competition. 

What happened, however, was one of the greatest fairytales in World Cup history, as Cameroon’s fighters, spurred on by belief, beat the defending champions before going all the way to the quarterfinals!

Did Africa’s Indomitable Lions listen to the naysayers who’d written them off? Did they heed the warnings about Argentina? Probably. But what they also did, like all entrepreneurs who’ve faced criticism, is to push forward regardless, confident in their abilities and the cause.

5. Losing isn’t the end

With five titles to its name, there’s no question of Brazil’s status as the No. 1 nation in World Cup history. Yet just as revered as its trophy-clinching teams is one that failed to win anything. Reason? The 1982 side, widely regarded as one of the best teams to never become champions, played with authenticity and passion.

Yes, success in football, like in business, often necessitates achieving goals. Nevertheless, it’s certainly possible to “win” in the eyes of your customers and peers even when you don’t. The key, however, is to be world-class in your approach, authentic and always give your all

Scoring takes effort

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Success, as every QNET superstar knows, isn’t a walk in the park. It takes even greater effort to be counted as among the very best. Yet, the World Cup has shown us for nearly a century that glory is attainable for those who want it, believe in it, and work towards it.

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