Chatting with Flavio Augusto da Silva
We spoke with Brazilian entrepreneur Flavio Augusto da Silva, the owner of the Orlando City Soccer Club, about his vision on international entrepreneurship. This interview has been translated from Portuguese and edited for clarity.
BY: Claudia Repsold
Brazil & U.S Biz: What is your personal motto?
Flavio Augusto da Silva: People have more value than material things
Brazil & U.S Biz: What is your advice for the new entrepreneurs?
Flavio Augusto: You should create a business model that will enable you to scale it. You should seek to innovate your product or service constantly, working hard and focusing to make it happen. You must have a clear vision of the reasons of its business; this will help you stay focused during the tough times and will give you strength to carry on.
Brazil & U.S Biz: What are the dos and don’ts of a business?
Flavio Augusto: Dos: You can always innovate in simple products or services. Therefore, innovate
DON´Ts – Don´t be moved by vanity or glamour. Entrepreneurship is related to a lot of risks and hard work; your vision should be driven by the motivation of transforming things.
Brazil & U.S Biz: If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Flavio Augusto: I wouldn’t change anything. I built my business from the scratch. I gathered the scarce resources I had and raised a debt to make a major project happen. I started very young, even the mistakes and failures were important for my learning.
Brazil & U.S Biz: – What was the best business tip someone gave you?
Flavio Augusto: The insights I got throughout my life, especially before starting my first company, were always very simple. However, it brought me the belief that through my work I would be able to change things and accomplish extraordinary tasks.
These advices were not technical nor could be learned in MBA classroom. The best tips I ever had were related to my potential, my power of persuasion, my leadership style to make people dream big and my ability to raise allies to accomplish extraordinary things.
Brazil & U.S Biz: Who inspires you most?
Flavio Augusto da Silva: My grandmother. She faced extreme hardship to raise three children working as washerwoman; nevertheless, she never stopped smiling. She is smiling person I know.
Brazil & U.S Biz: Why did you choose to invest in a soccer team? You could just sit around, go fishing, and enjoy life with your family. What drives you? It’s certainly not the money anymore, so what is it?
Flavio Augusto: I like to join the movements that change things transforming the most unlikely situations. When I moved to Orlando in 2009, my oldest son started playing soccer and I realized that the tournaments were always full of children and their parents. I expected that kind of support to other sports, but not to soccer.
I did a search and found out that soccer has the largest number of practitioners in the US, with more than 20 million young athletes. So it made sense to me to invest in the sport that has the largest number of practitioners in the country since the American market is the largest in the world for sports marketing. US is about to become a major market for soccer.
I wanted to join this movement and help promote soccer in the US. Also, I lived in Brazil, where the soccer clubs management models are full of contradiction. I would like to show Brazilians that it is possible for a soccer club be an agent of social change in the community while having a serious management.
Brazil & U.S Biz: As an entrepreneur, what are the differences between doing business in the U.S. and doing business in Brazil?
Flavio Augusto da Silva: Brazil has an excellent market to invest despite the bureaucracy, cascading taxes, high social charges and the corruption that is present in the daily life of public processes.
So far, my experience in the US showed a more mature market, especially in consumer habits related to sports. I also noticed that the public-private sectors in America have a far more professional relationship than in Brazil.
Later in the day, setting aside the differences of both countries, building a business is always the ability to swim against the tide. When you take risks and get out of your comfort zone, you break old patterns of society. This way you have the opportunity to build something from scratch so that future generations can perhaps remember you.
Brazil & U.S Biz: What are your plans for 2015?
Flavio Augusto: For 2015 we are looking forward to the debut of the Orlando City in the MLS next March. We will show that we are ready to play and eager to collect titles.