Whether you think of Mark Cuban more as a visionary entrepreneur or as an audacious TV personality--or both--it's hard not to take notice when the Shark Tank host shares his business advice.
Although Cuban has been a billionaire for more than a decade, his passion for entrepreneurship has never been stronger, as evidenced by his newest ventures, such as the disappearing message app Cyber Dust. On Tuesday, he brought his business expertise to The iCONIC Tour in Chicago, the first event of a three-city series hosted by CNBC and Inc. magazine.
Here are four tips Cuban offered at a past Inc. event for how to achieve success in business:
1. Know who the boss is.
Entrepreneurs may work for themselves, but that doesn't mean they call all the shots. In fact, all business owners report to the same boss: their customers. "Your customers own you," Cuban says. But "as long as you make those customers happy and as long as you keep them buying--and you do it on a profitable basis--then anything is possible."
2. Outsmart the competition by outworking them.
Achieving business goals doesn't require always being the smartest person in the room, but it does mean constantly pushing to work harder than everyone else. "You've got to grind to be successful," Cuban says. "My regrets have come from [times when] I didn't grind hard enough or maybe there was somebody out there outworking me. That's just not acceptable."
3. Don't focus on reinventing the wheel.
Some business owners think disruption requires building new technologies, but according to Cuban, anticipating where existing technologies are going can be just as valuable, if not more so. Take the example of WhatsApp, the $19 billion company that lets users send text, image, and audio messages across devices without a data network. "The beauty of WhatsApp wasn't messaging," Cuban says. "There was instant messaging forever, but they went multiplatform and went everywhere around the world."
4. Don't rely on outside investors.
Having a flashy venture capital firm providing backing is not the only way to succeed. For Cuban, winning in business always comes down to beating the competition, not attracting deep-pocketed investors. "Companies don't fail for a lack of cash," he says. "Companies fail for a lack of brains and effort."