Anyone who's ever seen Mark Cuban in a live interview knows that quoting him without using some rather colorful language is nearly impossible. I had the honor of witnessing such an interview the recent iCONIC Tour here in Chicago, the first event of a three-part event series hosted by CNBC and Inc. I'll tell you, this man gets his point across!
Every entrepreneur would benefit from developing just a modicum of the grit that Mark Cuban has. Here is his brutally frank perspective and advice for entrepreneurs.
Failure isn't palatable, but it does make you stronger.
Cuban has had his fair share of failures, especially at the onset of his career. Before his rise to success, Cuban lived in a three-room apartment with six other guys. "We used to wait for the midnight sale on chicken pieces in the supermarket," Cuban said, shaking his head. He hesitated before admitting (with a smile) that one of these young men would stand watch while the others sucked down big gulps of cheese whiz and placed the can right back on the shelf.
Cuban, perplexed, noted that many people talk about being grateful for their failures. "Sure, I learned from my failures, but man it sucked!" Regardless of the pain associated with it, Cuban points out that it doesn't really matter how many times you fail. "Each time only makes you better, stronger, smarter--and you only have to be right once. Just once."
Don't ask others to do anything you wouldn't do yourself.
When Cuban purchased the failing Mavericks for a whopping $285 million in 2000, he took immediate action to increase attendance at games. "I moved a desk into the center of the room and surrounded it with the other desks, creating a fishbowl effect," said Cuban. "Then I picked up the phone and called every, single past ticket holder. I certainly wasn't going to ask anyone else to do it until I succeeded at it myself."
Get off your butt and do it.
Cuban clearly has limited patience for entrepreneurs or "want to be" entrepreneurs who sit around waiting for someone else to do it for them. "Don't waste all of your time asking for help," says Cuban. "Just get to work and get it done!"
Entrepreneurs are typically labeled as risk takers. Sure, there is emotional risk involved in being an entrepreneur, like fear of failure or rejection. But a savvy entrepreneur like Cuban doesn't take financial risks; he is very sure of himself in negotiations. His advice? "When you go into a meeting be prepared," said Cuban. "If you don't know everything about your industry, the customer, and your own business, then someone like me is going to come in and beat your a*s!"
Cuban leans forward in his chair and says, "Look, there is one thing in business that you can control--your effort. Stuff happens, get over it. Just know your sh*t better than anyone!"
There is one solution to a failing business.
Cuban's viewpoint here is quite simple: "Sales cures all," he said. "What company survives without sales?"
Watch out for people like Kevin O'Leary.
"People ask me if Kevin is as big of a jerk off camera as he is on the camera. He's a lot worse off camera," says Cuban. "I'll tell you, after shooting for 8 to 12 hours, nine days in a row, you really want to knock the motherf*cker out."
The iCONIC Tour is coming soon to Los Angeles and D.C., I hope to see you there!