6 Business Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From FIFA World Cup 2014

Every four years, the FIFA World Cup event takes place with 32 nations put on the battle field to contest for the title of “World Cup Champions.” Usually at this time, the entire world is put on hold as the event attracts people from different parts of the world to a place where history will be made.

This period is also a time global brands and businesses invest heavily in football because there is always going to be a corresponding ROI


However, in the eyes of a smart entrepreneur, the FIFA World Cup 2014 game is not just a football game but an event where several business lessons can be learned.

After a long time analysis of the events that unfolded at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup, I was able to come up with 6 different business lessons an entrepreneur can learn and apply to his business or entrepreneurial endevours.

Let’s run though them:

#1 Patience with focused mind is a virtue in a business-playing field

One of the games played at the FIFIA World Cup 2014 that put the whole world to shock was the Brazil-Germany game!

It was a game which so many people predicted to be one of the toughest. Some even went ahead to tag it the “Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals.” While this turned not to be true, it however left an indelible positive and negative marks plus history on both countries.

It was the first in the history of Brazilian football to conceive 5 goals in less than 28 minutes of play with another 2 goals to seal up their loss.

Here is a little Word Cup history of Brazil and Germany:

In 2009 FIFA World Cup: Brazil 4 vs 0 Germany
In 2002 FIFA World Cup: Brazil 2 vs 0 Germany
In 2004 FIFA World Cup: Brazil 1 vs 1 Germany
Total scores                    Brazil 7 – 1 Germany

After all these years, this is how Germany retrieved all their lost goals and victories:

2014 FIFA World Cup: Brazil 1 vs 7 Germany

I paused for sometime after doing this analysis, because it’s something very rare especially in the case of numbers. But it happened and we all saw it at the games.

Business Lesson to learn:

When it’s your time, it’s your time. A 10 years of mistake in your business can gloriously be corrected in one year!

It doesn’t matter how long it took you to be heard in the business world, all what you need is patience combined with a focused mindset and when the time comes for your business to shine, it will do so in a more glorified and celebrated manner.

#2 Businesses with unique differentiator wins big

The FIFA  World Cup amongst other tournaments such as the Olympics, Champions League, Premiership and host others happens to be one tournament that puts on-hold every other activities once it kicks off.

The question would be – why is it so that this tournament attracts global attention? Is it because it’s a World Cup tournament? Being a World Cup tournament is not enough to answer that question. There is more to it and that is simply the “timing.”

Ordinarily, people would think that FIFA may want to cut down the four years gap to maybe two years because of the global attention the tournament attracts. But the FIFA World Cup games has remained a four years interval tournament as it uses these four years to build up greater interests, expectations, passion and commitment as the event nears.

Business Lesson to learn:

As an entrepreneur, you need to determine a “unique differentiator” for your business. For FIFA, its unique differentiator is the “timing.” Year in year out, many football games are played but it’s only FIFA World Cup that triggers the passion and commitment that brings the world together.

As an entrepreneur, you need to find out when best to launch your products and services or when to announce a special business event. Make it a point of necessity not to be moved by what every other business is doing.

Always have timing for your business endevours. If you are reading this article and you have not yet discovered your business unique differentiator, then it’s a BIG lesson you have learned today!

#3 Global brands pick their strength from Community building

The FIFA World Cup event has always been a time global brands pour out their community marketing campaigns. This is usually the period when global brands put behind the profit mindset to focus only on their consumers (the football community) who in turn will help them sing more praises to the global market both on live shows and in commercial views.


Brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kia, Hyundai, Nike, and host of others seizes this period to build a community of passionate and committed consumers by tying their products and services to the global football community rather than tying their products and services to themselves.

Business Lesson to learn:

As an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to build your business around a formidable community of consumers and prospects.

Invest more on adding value to your consumers, talk about them always, sample their opinions from time to time and always try not to tie your business to yourself.

You are already your business, but you will need a community of consumers and prospects to keep it selling.

#4 A Timely strategy will help you surprise your competitors

In the last quarter-final match of the FIFA World Cup 2014, Costa Rica gave a tough fight to the Netherlands (one that ordinarily, people wouldn’t have believed) as the game was decided in the penalty shootout after the goalless 90 minutes plus 30 minutes of extra time.

The performances put up by Costa Rica in the early games made them emerge as the surprise package of the tournament and they proved their worth against the Dutch team (one of the best teams of the tournament) before crashing out in the penalty shootouts of 4-3.

Before the penalty shootout, the Netherlands coach, Louis van Gaal saw the winning drive in the Costa Rican team and hence came up with a last minute and timely strategy to bring in a substitute goalkeeper, Tim Krul, who worked well as he saved two penalties to help the Netherlands make it to the next round.

Business Lesson to learn:

In the business world, timely strategy is very important. As an entrepreneur, you need to know when you are losing out of your business goals so you can quickly employ a timely strategy to remain in the business-playing field.

It does not only boil down on having talent, but combining talent with timely strategy which will help you go deep into competitive markets and come out on top.

#5 Talent works but does not always win all the time

Talking about “talent” here is what you need to know…

Four years ago, Spain lifted the FIFA 2010 World Cup and won the title of the “World Defending Champions.” This achievement coupled with the fact that a greater percentage of their players are all from the almighty “Barcelona” and “Real Madrid” Football Clubs, made people believe so much in them as to do it again in the FIFA World Cup 2014 . Who doesn’t believe that Barcelona joined with Real Madrid is bunch whole of “talents?”


This however, became a reverse! Spain with 90% talented players exited the game at the early group stages after an embarrassing loss to the Netherlands. Apart from Spain, two other countries with a handful of talents joined the exit league… I am talking about England (where many renowned English professional footballers hail from) and of cause Italy!

All these three mighty teams exited the game without getting to the knock-out stage, thereby making way for smaller and less talented teams to advance.

Business Lesson to learn:

Ordinarily, who would believe that big names like Spain, England, Italy, and Portugal will exit the FIFA World Cup 2014 at an early group stages? But it happened and not by accident.

As an entrepreneur, your talent is not enough to get you there; you will need both your talent and other things like innovation, strategy, effort, focus and dedication to get to where you’re heading to.

#6 The big brands are sometimes taken unawares

This is not too far from lesson #5 in the sense that it still points to how small or less discussed countries displaced the most discussed countries.

If you watched through the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, you will notice that many of the 16 teams that emerged into the knock-out rounds were not the world’s best. Countries like Nigeria, Greece, Algeria, Costa Rica, and the U.S all came out of very difficult groups to emerge ahead of teams like England, Italy, Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Among these less discussed countries is Algeria who celebrated a breakthrough moment after decades of frustration. Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) recorded a 1-1 draw with Russia to seal their progress to the Round of 16 for the first time in their football history.

Business Lesson to learn:

This is not really surprising news as it happens in every big sporting event. As an entrepreneur and a business owner, the lesson you will learn here is that the biggest players aren’t always the most fit to deliver the products and services that clients require.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to a business system or have little or no experience, one calculated step you take in your business can result to a total transformation on your business. All what you need is focus, unique value differentiator and a learning mindset.



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