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Lessons any business can learn from the last 16 of the World Cup

Posted on 4th July 2018 Posted in Blog

The World Cup is now in the business end and if you thought the group stages were fun, the knockouts have been even better. As usual, we will try and create parallels between the tournament and the daily grind of business. You’d be surprised at how many similarities there are and how many lessons you could learn.

Sometimes gambles pay off in penalties - look at England!

Three of the last 16 ties were taken to ‘dreaded’ penalty shoot outs which saw Russia shock the world by knocking out Spain, Croatia beating Denmark… and of course, England finally got over their penalty ‘hoodoo’ by eliminating Colombia! These are incredibly tense affairs which everyone loves, apart from the fans of the teams involved (literally nail biting stuff). But there are times when businesses have moments which are literally ‘sink or swim’. You might need that extra bit of funding to grow and this may all come down to impressing in an investor meeting. Or your venture might need to undergo a rebrand to change public perception of your company to increase sales (a real last throw of the dice). Business, like penalty shootouts, can be risky. But sometimes in life, you have no choice but to take risks in order to succeed.

Passing the torch to emerging talent

The game of the last 16 (and probably of the whole tournament) was the pulsating tie between France and Argentina - which ended 4-3 in favour of the French. We know this is an overused cliche but this game really did have everything. But the biggest protagonist of this classic was 19 year old French striker, Kylian Mbappe. The youngster scored two brilliant goals and won a penalty. But as one star shone, another faded in the shape of Lionel Messi, who was totally anonymous. At 31, this was probably his last chance to lift the famous trophy. In business, you need to identify top talent and know when to pass the mantle to them. Whether this is through offering a promotion; letting go of someone who is past their best; or selling your business to someone younger and more dynamic.

Get ugly

Another iconic player has probably seen his chance of World Cup glory fade away. After a great start, Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team, were beaten by Uruguay. This was another fascinating encounter which could have gone either way. The Portuguese had most of the ball but found it hard against a strong and resolute Uruguayan defence, lead by the imperious Diego Godin. Uruguay took their chances winning 2-1. You as a business owner should expect things to be hard sometimes. But if you have the right people by your side who can be calm under pressure then there is no reason you can’t ride out any problems that might arise and emerge stronger and ready for the next challenge. Not everything needs to be done beautifully, sometimes it’s just about getting the job done - sometimes this has to be ugly.

Nothing is done until it’s done

Another engrossing match saw much fancied Belgium face a tricky Japan. Surprisingly, the Japanese took a 2 goal lead, putting themselves in a strong position to qualify. A huge win for Japan was surely on the cards, but Belgium had other ideas. Japan got complacent with their lead and allowed Belgium to come back and win at the death. This is a great lesson for any business because nothing is done until it’s done. A huge contract with a big supplier might be agreed in principle but until it’s signed on the dotted line, it isn’t done. Some experienced business moguls might fancy investing in your business, but again that doesn’t mean this is certain to happen. Just like in football, never rest on your laurels in business.

We are now well into crunch time for England, is football really coming home or will we face elimination by Sweden? Whatever happens for us and other nations, we will cover it in our blog at Payzone - giving you every story and business angle along the way.

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