Even in a pandemic that's brought business to a grinding halt around the world, Mark Cuban sees opportunity.
During an "Ask Mark Anything" discussion hosted by Inc. editor-at-large Tom Foster on April 22, the Shark Tank investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks shared his thoughts for how small business owners can not only endure the impact of the coronavirus but position their companies for future growth.
Here are four tips Cuban shared during the conversation.
1. Tackle your to-do list.
Take this time to conquer all the nagging items on your to-do list, like updating your website or restructuring supply chains, Cuban says. Additionally, think about strategies that will boost your online presence, such as creating new content for customers and expanding your social media outreach.
2. Don't neglect advertising and marketing.
If you're still selling products, one of the ways to stand out is by advertising while many other businesses aren't, says Cuban. Customer acquisition and pay-per-click advertising costs have also dropped dramatically in light of the coronavirus, giving founders a unique opportunity to connect with their customers. What's more, companies that advertise now will look stronger than others who held back, he added.
3. Keep up communication.
Now is not the time to hide behind your computer screen, according to Cuban. He advises finding ways to connect with consumers, business partners, and anyone else in your Rolodex. Reach out asking about their health, their family, what music they are listening to, or TV shows they're watching.
"When you're in circumstances like this, even in a business relationship, just saying 'hi' is being nice," Cuban says. People will remember that when it's time to start doing business again.
4. Buck the trend.
Don't try to emulate what behemoths like Amazon, Target, and Walmart are doing, Cuban says. Instead, focus on new and innovative ways to do business. For instance, retailers might want to think about letting customers try on clothes outside of brick-and-mortar shops and taking their credit card information, rather than making them try on and purchase the clothes in-store, he says. Regardless of your industry, focus on what you can offer your customers that the massive companies can't, he added.
If you're looking to study up on future innovation, here are four industries Cuban is focusing on.
- Healthy buildings: Focus on how to make work environments healthier--not just energy efficient.
- Robotics: Cuban expects robotics to play an even larger role in businesses after the pandemic, specifically with assembly line manufacturing.
- Precision medicine: Cuban is interested in how doctors can tailor treatments to patients' specific bodies and genetic dispositions. One thing we've learned from Covid-19, he noted, is that the virus impacts everyone differently.
- Artificial intelligence: Cuban advises founders, no matter how small their companies may be, to start learning how A.I. can be integrated into their business.