From the world of business to the world of basketball, most Americans are familiar with billionaire Mark Cuban. Cuban came to fame by selling his internet company before the tech collapse, and now is one of the ubiquitous investors on Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team. Cuban is ever present when it comes to giving advice to small business start-ups and young entrepreneurs. He has solid messages that transcend industries and can be used by all. Let’s take a look at a few.
- Research your Market: Before Cuban takes aim at a particular business, he saturates himself in researching the industry or sector that he is looking to invest in. “It really does involve knowing an industry well, which is why I avoid investing in industries I don’t know,” Cuban said.
- Have a Flexible Business Plan: While your business plan is initially set is stone, Cuban says that as your business grows, your plan needs to be flexible with it. You can’t possibly foresee everything that is coming down the road, so adapt your business as needed and deviate from your plan as necessary.
- Funding your Business: Even though Cuban is a Shark Tank investor and venture capitalist, one of his major pieces of advice is to rethink the way you get capital. “You should do everything possible to not raise funds,” he said. “Sweat equity is the best equity. I would turn to crowdfunding [sites] like Kickstarter before I would look for investors.”
- Be Better than your Competition: It is satisfying when you know your business or field better than anyone else in it. This gives you authority and an advantage over your competition. This is where the hard work and research come together to make your mousetrap “Do a better job and have a compelling differentiation that you always build on,” says Cuban.
- Avoid Competitive Sectors: It is difficult to stand out in a crowded field, and much harder to differentiate your product or service. Cuban suggests finding a gap or niche between competitive sectors that you might be able to exploit, and as always, do your research.
It’s not just the grown-ups who Cuban speaks to. It is also the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Cuban is a big fan of getting kids to start looking at having their own business as their career choice. A couple bullet points from Cuban are worth mentioning:
- Start Now! Cuban is all for the lemonade stand and selling Girl Scout cookies. You can never start early enough in learning about business. He suggests that you will have a leg up if you start before you enter college. A great line by Cuban that is so true is, “To succeed, you don’t need qualifications, money or a planet-sized brain. All you need is to create something that consistently makes money.”
- Don’t Worry about Making Mistakes: You may have heard this before but it rings true. Many successful business people failed miserably many times over before obtaining success. “I don’t think [kids] can make mistakes. They aren’t running businesses with tens of thousands of dollars at stake. They are starting small, selling products they make or resell to their friends and neighbors. They can’t go wrong. They can only learn,” Cuban said.
- Set Goals: Setting and achieving goals as a young person gives you guidelines and confidence when you meet them. Without goals and timelines, you will wander helplessly with no real target in site.
Don’t get too excited kids, Cuban has only invested in a few young entrepreneurs, but the success rate of those he has is over 80 percent. Way to go kids!