Like many successful entrepreneurs, Mark Cuban started his road to victory when he didn't have many resources (specifically, Cuban was a broke college grad living with five other guys in a three bedroom apartment). Making something out of nothing builds your muscles. Cuban says we're now all tasked with making something out of nothing. This is an advantage.
In a recent interview with investor Arlan Hamilton, Cuban says this is the perfect time to start a business you love: "Five to 10 years from now, we'll look back and there will be 30 businesses that were created where we'll say 'Damn, why didn't I think of that? It makes so much sense now,"
He's right. Here's why.
First, forget capital.
Yes, it's an awful time to try to get capital, particularly since, in Cuban and Hamilton's words, investors don't know what the world will look like in five years, nevertheless in six months.
Cuban's philosophy has held steady, though, well before now. Your goal should be to create as much as you can on your own, with your own resources, networking and sweat equity, before even talking to investors.
Here's Cuban's beautiful take from a 2017 Chase Jarvis interview:
Sweat Equity is always the best equity. The next best version of equity is Customer Equity where you get customers coming in buying from you and that's how you're funding your growth. Third is using kickstarter/IndieGogo as a way to support you. The last thing on the list is venture capital money. They aren't giving it to you for charity and the minute you take that money, that's not the end, but when the obligation really starts. You thought you had an obligation to grow your business before you took the money? You have no idea.
As Cuban and Hamilton attest, I've seen founders walk away with next to nothing when their company was sold because they gave so much of it away to investors.
And sometimes investors don't see your vision for the future, which was the case when my founders and me sold our last company with 100 percent ownership. Bootstrapping often allows you to fulfill your ultimate plan in ways outside investment cannot.
Second, take a small step now.
There are two major camps now: Either you should use this time to work extra hard since you (theoretically) have extra time or you should rest, reflect and recharge to get ready for when things stabilize again.
Both philosophies are pretty extreme, as one will have you guilty for not being more productive, while the other may have you shameful about wanting to create.
Instead, as Cuban says during the interview, take a small step now. Prioritize your loved ones and your mental, physical and emotional health, and even do what you need to do to make ends meet. It is still possible to move forward, though, in small, incremental steps.
The big difference now is that we're all in this situation, which makes you equally, if not better suited to lean into your dream business now.
You can hear Mark Cuban interviewed, about where we go from here, at the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference on Friday October 23rd. Claim your free pass now.