I have been spending many sleepless nights over the years watching the FIFA World Cup on TV and I can’t wait for the latest one coming up in South Africa in 2010. Between the occasional dozing off and celebrating the beautiful goals, I have been inspired to link up the soccer business with entrepreneurship, in particular startup business. I see that there are many important learning points that are useful for startups and small businesses.
The people business
The most important asset that any soccer club has is its people. So who are these people? They are the board of directors, the coach/manager, players and club supporters. Many of the clubs understand this fundamental aspect of their business and that is why they have scouts, agents, brokers, etc. scouring the globe for the best talents.
Now for the startup case, it is similar in the sense that they don’t have many assets in the new company except for its people. That is why it is imperative that the founders spend a large amount of time scouring for talents. I have some experiences putting together new startups and have also received kind advice from folks who tell me that it would be best that I get the people from my social circle, or plainly, people who I know. Despite this, I feel that it would be good actually for me to expand the talent search to outside my circle. This would not only reach out to other great talents but also to diverse views and styles. It is useful to understand that one’s personal circle is never adequate in the search for the talents of the world. The only challenge here is that managing a team of people you haven’t gotten to know very well can be a test of the person’s man-management skill. continue reading »