Soccer is not a popular sport in America. I get it. While the rest of the world is passionately excited about this beautiful game, most Americans are indifferent at best. While everyone on the planet is celebrating a sense of togetherness, most Americans are rather unimpressed. There is just no denying the facts. However, small business owners should join the rest of the world in watching because they actually could learn a lot from soccer players.
As an Entrepreneur, would you rather be this guy?
Or the guy in the middle holding a glorious trophy?
Hopefully you chose the bottom picture. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to carry around a trophy while being bathed in confetti? Here is what small business owners could learn from World Cup footballers:
1. Being the Underdog
USA is considered to be an underdog in the World Cup. Yes they are in a group with two of the biggest names in soccer, Germany and Portugal, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try their hardest. USA still has a chance of getting out of the group stage. In 2010, USA tied with England and it was considered a victory. The underdog is an old theme that has been replayed over and over again: David vs. Goliath, America vs. England, the small start-up vs. the big corporation. As a small business owner, sometimes it feels impossible to compete against the big brand names, but that should not be discouraging. Sure big names have more money to spend on resources, advertising, and talent, but think of what you have that they don’t. You have teamwork and the power of quick, efficient communication. You are willing to take risks that will ultimately pay off in the end, and most importantly, you fully understand the game.
2. Understanding the Importance of Teamwork
There is no “I” in team. One player simply cannot support the whole team on their back. No team will ever win with one person doing all of the work. It is impossible. When players are able to communicate and use their strengths and weaknesses effectively, it is easier to come out on top. Teamwork is essential in soccer and it is also essential for entrepreneurs. Working in teams and collaborating with others is inevitable. A team has people. People have various strengths and weaknesses. When the strengths and weaknesses are applied in the right places, it is amazing what can be achieved. Not only that, but with effective teamwork comes reduced stress, improved communication, and efficiency.
3. Impeccable Timing
To some, soccer may seem boring. Why would you want to watch a 90 minute game that could end in a 0-0 tie, when you could watch something way more exciting, say football? The truth is soccer requires timing, precision, and patience. It’s all about creating the right circumstances that allow you to maintain control of the ball and the field. Sound familiar? Being an entrepreneur is all about patiently waiting and finding that rare window with the opportunity to achieve success and growth. It’s about investing the right amount of time and energy. It’s about being prepared to meet the opportunity that will create the “luck” that everyone else thinks you have. Slow and steady wins the race or the game in this case.
Soccer players run around the field for 90 minutes straight. Sure they get a brief halftime, but other than that, no time outs, no breaks. Similarly, running a small business gives you little time for rest. In small start-ups, it is not uncommon to work 10-hour days to get everything done. Like soccer players, you have to take whatever comes at you and think of the next best possible move on the spot. When soccer players get tired or worn-out it affects their performance. They often get substituted in the later minutes of the game. Similarly, if you find you have too much on your plate or you are spreading yourself thin, pass the ball to your employees and interns. If you spend the right amount of time and resources training them, they will be able to take on bigger responsibilities and everyone wins.