Doing business with staff, What can you learn from football?

    During the World Cup, everyone likes football a little more. Many are banned. Many companies are also responding to it. They try to seduce football fans with all kinds of creative sales campaigns. Mainly to increase or at least maintain their sales, because instead of spending money, customers hang out en masse in front of the TV. But apart from this, football is a good metaphor for good business with staff. Provided that I have no knowledge of football, I do have business with staff. In this blog you can read the similarities between football and entrepreneurship with staff, and without staff. It helps you to start and expand your business.

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    The goalkeeper must keep all balls out of the goal. Logical, Johan Cruijff would undoubtedly say. After all, you win by having more goals for than against. All truths like a cow. It is no different with business; make sure more money comes in than goes out. Even if that is very short-sighted, that is essentially what it comes down to. As an entrepreneur you are responsible for this. Not your accountant or the bank that has to lend you because you are without cash or a current account. Even if you have an overview of money that you still receive from your debtors – your customers.

    TIP:  Always make sure you have enough money to pay the bills for the coming month. Anticipating what is to come, after all, that is what the keeper has to do too.


    The main task of the rearguard, like the goalkeeper, is to prevent goals. They do that by defending too well; to stop or take the ball and then to play the midfield as best as possible. That means the ball has to go forward. They ensure that the other players can play forward as much as possible. That means organization.

    Provide a foundation in your company that you can always fall back on. For this everyone must know his or her task and position and be able to play. A detail here is that no one should hold the ball for long, but play around or play forward. Translated to the entrepreneur, this role means that the product or service must be made and delivered as well as possible. So standardization. Whether you work alone – as an independent professional – or with staff and hiring freelancers, make sure you have your business processes in order.

    TIP:  Make sure you standardize your processes of making, delivering, administering and invoicing as much as possible, otherwise you will be ruined by your own success! Many entrepreneurs underestimate this role.


    In midfield, the players have a double task. They have to switch quickly; receiving the ball from the rear and delivering it to the van in size. Sometimes they have to help defend and sometimes help set up an attack. Be permanently available. This requires planning and foresight. In business you can compare this with the support department. A very important department. They are at the service of the sales department at all times. By ‘playing’ the seller or the sales team at the right time, they can score optimally.

    TIP:  When doing business with staff, but also as a self-employed person, make sure that things around you are arranged so that you are played instead of always having to fetch the ball yourself. In other words: will your sales continue while you are practicing your profession and making your current customers happy?


    The striker’s job is to score! The best way to do this is to walk free, play out the opponent and mislead the keeper. You are only successful if you know how to convert a shooting opportunity into a goal. This requires performance orientation and creativity. Because here too it is about anticipating and setting up an attack. The similarity with doing business with or without staff is that you must have a good pitch. One that triggers and scores. For this you need good (sales) arguments that fit exactly in the customer’s goal. The entrepreneur ensures that the seller(s) in his company can convert every scoring opportunity into a goal.

    TIP:  Make sure you get to know your customer as well as possible, then he will automatically come up with the arguments that are a no-brainer for you.

    Soccer coach! Business coach?

    The coach is of course in favor of the team performing as well as possible. So as a team. Not only all positions must be clear, but also the tasks. Moreover, every player must also be flexible enough to respond to the opportunities and threats in the game. Because no matter how well you have determined your line-up in advance, the game will still play out differently. The coach’s most important weapon is strategic insight. Translated to entrepreneurship: the entrepreneur keeps an eye on the entire company, on all roles and on the changes in the game. In short: as an entrepreneur you have to continuously respond to the opportunities and threats facing the company.

    TIP:  Create a SWOT confrontation matrix. A difficult assignment for many entrepreneurs and therefore rarely carried out, but oh-so useful and very easy with this online Confrontation Tool .

    The entrepreneur in business with staff

    Now you might think that the entrepreneur can best be compared to the role of a coach in football. My point is that as an entrepreneur you could play any role on the football field. It goes without saying that you must have ‘covered’ all the roles. But undoubtedly you feel more at home with a certain role than with another. How well did you cover all the roles? Just check with yourself. Are you more of a productive midfielder, but do you score (too) little, so that the goalkeeper cannot handle it?

    In short: money is leaking out of your company. Or are you the creative striker who sees a lot of opportunities, perhaps even scores a lot, but has not organized his rear guard well, so that a lot of money is lost here too. This applies equally to the entrepreneur with staff and without staff. Chances are that as an entrepreneur you are more likely to be in the field than to have taken on the role of coach.

    TIP:  A coach or trainer who occasionally gives you tips and advice from the sidelines helps your game enormously.

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