Dear Entrepreneur, Practise This To Not Lose Like Brazil

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ENTERPRISE54 – The Samba boys and football favorites Brazil, Tuesday crashed out of the 2014 World Cup finals in a 7-1 epic defeat to German machines right on home soil in a tournament hosted with billions of Brazilian money! A great exhibition of counter attacking football by the Germans exposing a despairing show of defensive capitulation on the South American side. The national nightmare will forever be engraved in Brazilian hearts and go down in football history as the country’s lowest point. Fortunately, like every failure, it holds immensely rich lessons for success. Here’s what entrepreneurs can learn from the devastating national sham.

Efficiency over Capital
A cursory look at the match’s statistics shows the sensational Brazilians had more shots, shots on target, corner kicks and possession than their opponents with no result to show for it. The Germans however had 14 total shots with 12 shots on target! An accuracy of about 85 percent. 7 of those shots were goals. Often, the biggest winners in business aren’t those with the heaviest capital, highest workforce or most resources. Remember Yahoo and General Motors losing market dominance despite size and clout? And on the flip side, Toyota’s rise using lean manufacturing? The most successful businesses are the most efficient. They fine tune their focus and concentrate available resources to achieve it. Like the German side, they get the simple things right. They throw accurate passes, they don’t lose the ball.

It’s not that the Brazilians didn’t make an effort. One hidden secret of the German side’s victory was the “sweeper” keeper Manuel Neuer. The goalkeeper solidly denied the South American offensive 8 times! As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be overly protective of your company. Your front desk employee is your company. Not the contact numbers or mobile phones. Your operations manager is your company. Not the office equipments. What’s the use of a buzzing customer care line without an attendant to answer it? Genuinely care about your staff to avoid losing them to poachers. Market competition has become stiffer for Rocket Internet after losing rich talents like Onyeka Akumah to Konga thereby aiding skill development of competitors.
When a curator friend, who is opening a plush gallery and restaurant in the heart of Yaba, Lagos, wanted to hire his attendant, he simply walked up to a handsome and fluent English-speaking one at a franchised fast food restaurant he likes. The young man disclosed his salary is a paltry N20,000. My friend said, “I’ll double it.” End of discussion.
The marketplace is a war field. Successful entrepreneurs think defensively too. Have a solid PR team to ward off media attacks, insure office equipment, etc.

Can Your Business Function Independent of You?
Though I do not share the sentiments, many believe Neymar’s presence could have changed the outcome of the semi-final match. Neymar suffered a broken vertebrae during Brazil’s previous match against Columbia and was ruled out for the remainder of the competition. Truth is, solid football teams as well as businesses, are not made of superstars. They are made of superior functional systems. That’s why Spain, Italy and Portugal, with all their paraded multi-million dollar earning stars crashed out miserably!
Hiring skilled talent may be important, company culture, structure, strategy and processes, which are responsible for coordinating resources, are even more important. Remember what Alexander the Great said about an army of sheep led by a lion defeating an army of lions led by a sheep? Gospel truth!

Your Brand Name Matters!
Samba boys. German machines. Don’t you prefer the latter?

I like how Brazilian coach Felipe Scolari comforted his boys. He probably is the most hit of the disappointment capping his near-end career with such grand loss. But we know the Brazilians will stage a phenomenal comeback. There would be bad days. Entrepreneurs lose accounts, burn through cash and probably owe employees and suppliers. Entrepreneurs cry too. But, through it all, the successful ones never give up. Never give up!





I believe Africa's entrepreneurship stories must be told!

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