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Entrepreneur: 7 Simple- Stupid Tips from John Cena & Co for your Startup

for a startup to survive, the entrepreneur has to be ready to fight strategically as a pro-wrestler and topple challenges as this wrestler topples his challenger

For a moment, set aside your thoughts, feelings of him as the 44th president of the United States of America. Truth is, when the curtains fall, Donald Trump the entrepreneur, will have earned his place on the table where great entrepreneurs dine. In this tortuous journey to becoming an entrepreneur, it’s advised that one be on the lookout for entrepreneurship lessons. Even from the unlikeliest of places. For instance, have you ever considered scrapbook making as an entrepreneurship tool?

Entrepreneur: Pro wrestling is like entrepreneurship

Key topics on starting, running and growing a business that are especially useful to entrepreneurs starting out will be covered in this article. They include:

  1. How to use networking as a business strategy and become a successful entrepreneur
  2. How to use simplification as a business strategy and become a successful entrepreneur
  3. Taking retreat as a cue to cooperate and how to utilize it as a strategy to grow your business,
  4. How to manage the transition from entrepreneur to small business owner
  5. Business ethics as a path to attaining great entrepreneur status
  6. Achieving success in business by understanding  politics

A good place to begin to test this mantra is with Donald trump. The unapologetic self promoting successful entrepreneur we know. A man who saw something in professional wrestling that his peers didn’t. In a 1992 Charlie Rose interview, The Donald admitted to razzmatazz and showbiz as being good for business.

Succès de scandale. (Note that this interview was way before he became a wrestling star himself) However, Donald Trump’s later forays to the wrestling ring ought be seen in this light. As an indictment to old street wisdom: All publicity is good. Ain’t nothing like bad publicity.

We don’t promise to tell all about entrepreneurship in our unique take on pro wrestling and entrepreneurship. But we will share our own experiences as a small business owner and wrestling fan.We believe that this package is better than any entrepreneurship training out there. Because one thing’s for sure: Pro wrestling just like entrepreneurship is all about winning.

Oblivious of this uncanny semblance pro wrestling  is nothing but a sorry imitation of one of humanity’s oldest sports – wrestling. My grandfather, a champion traditional wrestler, would certainly agree with these aspersions on pro wrestling. But anyone who (by starting their own business) has signed up to entrepreneur university, has to wear a different mindset.

Donald Trump,The Business of Pro Wrestling & Entrepreneurship

To better your chances of becoming  a successful entrepreneur, you need to see the trade of John Cena & Co. for what it is.

The mid 1990’s must be seen as a sticky point for pro wrestling. Popular periodicals were awash with the story of professional wrestling’s ‘secret’. That pro wrestling was as nothing much more than a great showbiz event.

Nothing but hot air. Aspersions that hit at pro wrestling fan base as it became more likely that one would be taunted for being a fan of a ‘fake’ event. Given such a history, any skepticism at our use of  WWE as a template  personal development plan for building a personal brand as a business and entrepreneur is understood.

The Big Business of Merchandising

But as Donald Trump before has lived to tell, professional wrestling is big business. Whereas ball sports have their jerseys to sell, professional wrestling has its t-shirts to sell. Recently, Forbes reported on impressive figures from ProWrestlingTees.com.

Upwards of $3million from t-shirt sales of past and present superstars. Fyi Stone Cold Steve Austin tops the list while John Cena doesn’t feature in the top 20. In this world, professional wrestling schools replace the  money minting football academies. Furthermore, wrestling merchandise is big business as much as it is in other franchise sports.

Moreover, professional wrestling-a niche product- has evolved to include narratives that increasingly mirror the real competitive world. The subplots in between and around the matches in the ring, help build up the story of the fight.

Business is War

These stories are awash with theme plots on corporate greed, business rivalry, mistrust in partnerships, sabotage and betrayal in relationships. Simply put, they depict a cut-throat world. A world not far removed from the fishy business in entrepreneurship.

Mainstream definition of entrepreneur bundles all this fishy business into some sort of risk element. In subsequent text we unravel the risk element in entrepreneurship using common WWE scenarios to illustrate how as an entrepreneur you can learn to win as they do in WWE. To aid this quest we apply insights from a leaked 2014 WWE script analysis by The Week. To this we infuse our own business wisdom gained from our entrepreneurship journey. After all, Business is war:

Rather than comparing [war] to art we could more accurately compare it to commerce, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities; and it is still closer to politics, which in turn may be considered as a kind of commerce on a larger scale.

Carl von Clausewitz

But before unpack our 7 Entrepreneurship lessons from Professional Wrestling; strategies that will help you become a successful entrepreneur, we encourage you to watch best ending in the history of Smackdown. This should help get you in the mood.

Startup Business Strategy: The Importance of Entrepreneurs Networks


A boss once told me, “Colleen, it’s not about the meeting, it’s about the scotch after the meeting. You either need to learn to drink or take up golf.” Turns out I’m not a good scotch drinker


Colleen Ferrary Bader

Pro Wrestling Script: Before WWE goes live on TV, dark matches – two matches are aired exclusively on WWE network. This exclusive scoop bestows upon America’s largest sports entertainment company the premium of exclusive content.

This therefore invariably makes WWE the leader in pro wrestling coverage. TV networks that partner with the WWE network then benefit from this brand equity. Besides, these TV networks get scoops of  yet to be seen footage.

How to use networking as a business strategy and become a successful entrepreneur:

When facing an established competitor in a battle for market share, change the areas of engagement into new areas where the business opponent is less accustomed to.

Steve Jobs, tech entrepreneur per excellence once said this of a rival:

We’ve now passed RIM, and I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company

Steve Jobs

Another example is David’s  choice of  a sling and a stone rather than a sword. In a sword fight, David  stood no chance against Goliath. Mark Mcneilly in the blog Six Principles of Sun Tzu & the Art of business describes fleshes out this business strategy. On “Use alliances and strategic control points in the industry to “shape” your opponents and make them conform to your will” he says and I quote:

Therefore, those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.” Sun Tzu Shaping you competition” means changing the rules of contest and making the competition conform to your desires and your actions. It means taking control of the situation away from your competitor and putting it in your own hands. One way of doing so is through the skillful use of alliances. By building a strong web of alliances, the moves of your competitors can be limited. Also, by controlling key strategic points in your industry, you will be able to call the tune to which your competitors dance

Mark Mcneilly

End of quote.

Startup Business Strategy: Simplify Your Business Process To Gain Competitive Advantage

The simple the process is, the smarter the system becomes

Joey Laswin in Creation By Law

Pro Wrestling script: There is always that guy who comes to fight injured. This works in similar fashion to handicap in golf. The handicap allows the usually unfancied opponent to inflict maximum pain to victory.

How to use simplification as a business strategy and become a successful entrepreneur:

Do everything you can to know your competitors weaknesses. Once you grasp them, exploit and attack strategically. If a division of the established competitor is limping like an injured wrestler, this may be the area where you should seek to gain market share from. Hit were it hurts.

Remember, to be capable of taking advantage of situations, your business needs to be able to act fast. In small business entrepreneurship less layered business processes are within reach with technology. As the business grows, ERP solutions get more complex. This complexity may slow response time.

Startup Business Strategy: When venturing into highly regulated industries, don’t step on toes

To withdraw isn’t a sign of weakness… It is a sign that a man knows the limits of his capabilities and the most probable outcome of the future. One who retreats to fight another day isn’t running away, but looking for another road towards the same destination.

Joel Suggs

Pro Wrestling Script: Many at times we have been treated to the comedy of a star pro wrestler taking to his heels to get away from the scene of an ambush. As wrestling fans, some of the more entertaining match ups have been the handicap matches where a wrestler is denied a known key competitive advantage that they hold. An apt example is when one member of a tag team is forced to defend a title on their own. It’s always a treat to see the underdog compete.

Taking retreat as a cue to cooperate and how to utilize it as a strategy to grow your business

As much as you know your competitors weaknesses, know also their strengths. Know which battles to pick. Keep off the way of a tornado if you can. In battle, retreat is also a worthy strategy.

In no better circumstance than when trading in highly regulated industries – health care, pharmaceuticals, alcohol & tobacco – is this piece of business advice supreme. As a small startup venturing into highly regulated industries, you can choose to cooperate rather than defect.

This can be achieved through making partnerships with the big boys in your industry possible.  Mike Montgomery writing for Forbes terms this as tactful nudging the old order towards manageable change.

Startup Business Strategy: Don’t get distracted says ‘Shark Tank’ Investor Kevin O’Leary

Listen, Kevin. Every day, poo poo’s gonna hit the fan. Stuff is gonna happen, and it’s gonna be bad. You just don’t know when or how bad it’s gonna be. But you have to put shutters on, set a goal, don’t listen to the noise, and just go forward. All of that noise is a distraction, and if you let it distract you, you’ll fail.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary on managing business in a Business Insider interview

Pro Wrestling Script: Do not get carried away by early gains like the wrestler who on knocking his opponent down, starts to prematurely celebrate his win. Distracted and urged on by the roar of the crowd, the wrestler prematurely celebrates as the referee is yet to call the match via the mandatory three count. All you WWE fans know what happens next.

How to manage the transition from entrepreneur to small business owner

Consolidate gains. Celebrate little wins but always seek to improve whilst also  planning for leaner times. Capital intensive strategic moves should be under taken in the back ground of solid business operational frameworks. Your business needs to be constantly prepared and educated on changes. Be it during the lean or booming times. Be vigilant!

Startup Business Strategy : Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after a long and rigorous of education and experience

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink The power of Thinking Without Thinking

Pro Wrestling Script: I am sure you have seen the willy opponent who fakes being incapacitated only to lead their nemesis to fatal mistakes.Blunders like the infamous jump drop attack from atop the corner pole, only to hit the canvas to their own serious detriment.

Of the Pro wrestling attacks, the drop is the riskiest for self mutilation. Self destruct is a risk every entrepreneur should be wary of.

How to gain competitive advantage in entrepreneurship even when at the lowest business cycle:

Innovate, adapt and overcome. The three steps to maintaining that competitive edge in your business. One of the ways that I unwind away from my business and entrepreneur network is through watching animal kingdom videos on Nat Geo, Animal Planet and even YouTube.

The following video touches on a host of the pieces of business advice that we have covered here. Such as the dividend of cooperation and importance of not being distracted. However, therein the video still lies a gem . The gazelle’s situation reminds entrepreneurs of the value of entrepreneurship training – both formally and the real world. Enjoy!

Startup Business Strategy: Know Your Business Ethics

Using the law as tool not an end:

The robber says, “stick ’em up, I want your money,” and the deranged-looking victim says “If you take it, I will explode this bomb and kill us both!

Micheal E. Porter in Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

Pro Wrestling Script:A common occurrence in professional wrestling is the frivolous bending of the rules by wrestlers to their own advantage. The referee is either blinded to indiscretions or taken out altogether.

Business ethics as a path to attaining great entrepreneur status

Follow the rules, but know areas where the law is blind to. The competition may exploit these loop holes in the law to crush you in the open market. You don’t have to go further than Uber with impressive growth yet it is faced with a litany of court cases in fights with its drivers, city councils and just about everyone.

By citing Uber, we do not advocate for questionable business ethics. Besides, Uber is on record for it struggles with business ethics. We beseech vigilance for the following reasons: ignorance is a weak defense and self-regulation remains a key deterrent of unethical practices.

You remain at the mercy of the first and contribute negligibly to the latter if not well versed with laws, norms and statues of your industry. As an entrepreneur, how you treat other business communicates the standards by which you will be treated by others.

Act unethically and your entrepreneurs network shuns you. They are likely to protect their businesses from the dirt of unethical business practices for the price to be paid is huge. See the case of BP and VW.

Employees also take cues on how to treat your business assets from the culture of the enterprise they work for.

Startup Business Strategy:Business leadership is all about politics

Leadership is influence

John C. Maxwell

Pro Wrestling Script: In the leaked script, on The Week, we are taken to a backroom where a plan is being hatched. WWE executive vice president Paul “Triple H”Levesque has a live and entirely scripted-to-the-letter encounter with two other wrestlers.

“Dave, Randy, I know you still want your title opportunity against Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan isn’t here tonight. And now we have even bigger problem on our hands. The Shield had the audacity to attack me last week…”

Achieving success in business by understanding  politics

WWE fans will recognize the names on the quoted script. But only those who pay attention to the politics of WWE will understand the implications. Such a leak must have had damaging effects on the politics of the show. It might have necessitated a rethink of future shows and thus undone a lot of work.

Similarly, a successful entrepreneur is one who pays attention to the politics. Politics of the industry; politics of workplace you have created; national politics and geopolitics.

As Bill Gindlesperger, writes in “Politics is about how many friends, not enemies, you can make“; I quote:

All of us are neck-deep in politics everyday of our lives. Every organization on earth that involves human beings has its politics. Politics does not have to be a bad thing. Actually politics can be a good thing when we bring people to the table to sit down, work together, compromise and get things done for the common good

Bill Gindlesperger

End of quote.

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