‘If I can do it, you can do it’ -By Mark Cuban.
Part One: Basics
– Get a job to learn, not to earn.
– Hustle hard. Do the hard things early in life. The most daunting, do them.
– Create lasting relations.
– Put in the time to get a knowledge advantage.
Part Two: Lessons Learned: My First Business Rules.
Know how to beat your own competitions at their own game, you still got to be smart here!
Give customers better offerings, figure that out!
Lesson #1: Always ask yourself how can someone out-do your product/service. How can they put you out of business? Is it price? Service? Is it ease of use? Anticipate where the problems will come from.
Lesson #2: Always run your business like you’re going to be competing with the biggest competitions in the industry. Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc.
i.e. Be extremely competitive.
Learn from the best in business.
The Sport of Business.
Play sport to re-focus and re-energise.
NB: In the game of business, it’s survival of the fittest. Bottom line, Go all in or Go home!
The game is on, 7 days x 24 hours x 365 days x forever – No rules!
Always be looking for ideas, concepts to give you the edge in your business. To innovate, to be more competitive.
Mark Cuban says: Success is about the edge. “It’s not whom you know. It’s not how much money you have. It’s very simple. It’s whether or not you have the edge and have the guts to use it”
The edge is getting so jazzed about what you do, you just spent 24 hours straight working on a project and you thought only a couple of hours has passed.
The edge is knowing that you have to be the smartest guy in the room when you have your meeting and you are going to put in the effort to learn whatever you need to learn to get there.
The edge is knowing that your business is the most important thing to give it your all.
The edge is knowing that you can fail and learn from it, and just get back up and in the game.
The edge is knowing that you are getting to your goals and treating people right along the way, being as good as you can be, you are so focused that you need regular people around you to balance and help you.
The edge is being able to confidently call out someone on a business issue because you did your homework.
The edge is recognizing when you’re wrong and working harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The edge is being able to drill down to identify issues and problems and solve them before anyone knows they are there.
The edge is knowing that while everyone else is talking about nonsense like the ‘will to win’ and how they know they can be successful, you’re preparing yourself to compete so that you will be successful.
Know that there’s someone out there starting a business whose entire goal is to beat the hell out of yours. How cool is that?
Never ever think that you’re the only one. That things are well- because they truly are not.
Always be on top of your game!
Business is the ultimate competition, get used to that, and work hard like you know that!
The One Thing In Life You Can Control: Effort.
– Live cheaply as much as possible, and invest in assets.
– Develop foresights for your business and industry. To shield against slumps and leverage on the knowledge.
– Since the only thing you can control in business is EFFORT. Put a lot of it. Work very hard and smart.
About effort Mark Cuban says: “I had to kick myself in the ass and recommit to getting up early, staying up late and consuming everything I could to get an edge. I had to commit to making the effort to be as productive as I possibly could. It meant making sure that every hour of the day that I could contact a customer was selling time and when customers were sleeping, I was doing things that prepared me to make more sales and to make my company better.”
This is pure determination and tenacity.
NB: Effort is measured by setting goals and getting results not hours spent on doing work.
– Always strive to make things better, more accessible, more appealing- it’s about consistently improving the products/service and systems.
Guide: Be smart about your efforts. Be really smart!!!
There’s always a caveat to destiny, and that’s obligation. The greatest obstacle to destiny is debt, both personal and financial.
Before you marry, make sure you know yourself first and it will be easier to find the right person.
Never settle (until you found your ‘love’, work or business). There’s no reason to rush either.
You only have to be right once!
In business, to be a success, you only have to be right once.
Thought: To get financial backing sometimes it means your business idea should have a great potential to generate massive profits (not necessarily have good intentions). So you must decide: is it money first and charity after? Or is it money impact? Or impact then money? Think carefully about this.
You have to understand the prospect of your business/industry to know how you can maximise profits and income.
– Get it right once!
– What I learned from Bobby knight:
– Focus and intensity can be virtues and conduits to success.
Look for this kind of attitude amongst others in your partners: “Everyone has got the will to win, it’s only those with the will to prepare that do win” from Bobby Knight.
Drawing in opportunity & winning the battle you are in.
– Never get too excited about ideas/opportunities without really thinking them through. Otherwise they end up in disappointment.
1) Everyone is a genius in a bull market.
“Entrepreneurs have to be brutally honest with themselves and recognise where they have added value and where they have gone along for the ride.”
Don’t give yourself credit for the ride!
– As a business man, you have the potential to tilt the market and the playing field of business given the right strategies and a ‘great’ team.
– Build the capacity to thrive in both the bull and bear markets. That’s a recipe for generational business.
2) Win the battles you are in before you take on new battles.
Every business has a make or break battle. Grin on-make sure you know it and make sure to stay abreast of it.
These battles are what an entrepreneur should always be focused on fighting and moving on to other more robust battles and delegate the rest of operational tasks.
Hire people in whom you can built trust and let them take the ball and run with it.
Make sure there’s someone to handle the daily strive before you really move-on. Test the man for the job first.
Think of it like this: your best resources to fight in a battlefield may be limited for a time being- and that’s when you should not scatter them all over. i.e. the rate at which you develop/grow should be exceeded by the rate at which you improve, empower and skill yourself. Then you’ll win all your battles.
Win the battles you are in FIRST, then you can worry about the expansion and going into new business later.
3) You can drown in opportunity.
Warning: “Far too often when the entrepreneur hits a rough patch or competitive challenge, the temptation is to ‘turn on the thinking cap and find something new for the company to do. Don’t fall prey to this temptation.”
Know your core competencies and make sure that your company focuses on being the absolute best it can be at executing them.
Don’t lie to yourself.
“The worst evaluator of talent is a player trying to evaluate himself”
This tends to be applicable with entrepreneurs.
We tend to be less honest with ourselves about our strength and weaknesses.
Don’t let your confidence cloud your judgement of what you can truly do and of what you can’t.
Get someone who complements you- both in personality and skills set.
Built trust with your partner. And understand each other’s personal values and priorities.
The best equity is sweat equity:
The best entrepreneurs are often times the best investors.
The rules to winning as a start-up:
#1: Sweat equity is the best start-up capital:
– The best business in recent entrepreneurial history are those that began with little or no money.
Mark Cuban’s start up essentials:
1) Spreadsheet of expenses and revenue needed to break even.
2) Overview of what he will be selling.
3) Why he thought the business makes sense.
4) Overview of my competition.
5) Why my product/service would be important to my customers and why they should buy/use it.
– Get the ‘expert’ to give you feedback on your business concept. Don’t take it as it is though.
NB: “far more often than not, raising cash is the biggest mistake you can make”
– Cash is NOT the most important thing to make a successful enterprise.
– Put yourself in the position of the company or the person you are trying to ask money from.
#Venture capitalists vs Vulture capitalists
Task: Evaluate our business’s elasticity and risk profile.
The reality is that taking money from non-family member is that they are doing it for only one reason, to make money. If you can’t deliver on that promise, you are out.
Learn this: There are only two reasonable sources of capital for start-up entrepreneurs; your own pocket and your customer’s pocket.
“Businesses don’t have to start big. Start small enough to suit your circumstances”
“It’s okay to start slow. It’s okay to grow slow”- Mark Cuban.
Warning: Always be wary to splash cash on just every problem without investigating it. There’s always far more profound challenges than cash- solve those first.
Key: “The reality is that for most businesses, they don’t need more cash, they need more brains.”
What will you remember when you are 90?
Bottom line. Take decisions you will be proud of- because you had fun doing those things and because they are impactful. Money is not an end on its own.
– After all- comes death. So, have fun doing whatever you do!!
Remember: success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are- not what other people want you to be.
Connecting to your customers.
1) “Treat your customers like they own you. Because they do”
2) “You need to re-earn your customers everyday”
3) Yahoo! i.e. “You Always Have Other Options”
“To connect to customers, you have to put yourself in their shoes. Do that in many ways to get the feeling which your customers get every time they experience your product/service”.
Be careful to filter the valuable interactions you can have with your customers because of secretaries/assistants. This has potential to cause more damage to your business than can be thought.
Always remember this saying; “happy customers might tell one person, but unhappy customers tell 20.”
‘Your whining and dissatisfactions can be your leads to business ventures, so did Mark Cuban and Richard Branson, why not you?’
Whining is the first step towards change. It’s the moment you realise something is very wrong and that you have to take the initiative to do something about it.
‘Those who don’t whine is because they know that they are uncappable of effecting change’
The path of least resistance:
“TV is the path of least resistance from complete boredom” i.e. it’s easier to watch TV than to sit here and do nothing. *People always want the easier way out. Give them the benefits, they will reward you for it. i.e. Do the difficult things for them, charge them for it.
Understanding this concept is very key to making very good business decisions.
-You must make sure you are offering the least resistance to access and use of your product. Then you’ll have people!
Think about this: In business, one of the biggest challenges is to make sure that your product is the easiest to experience and to sell.
Make your product easier to buy than your competition; or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.
Unlimited options are bad also, because they take forever.
The concept of choosing unlimited options gives back to mind what Steve Jobs said, that customers(sometimes) don’t know what they want, they are just waiting for an offering.
– Which is the reason people welcome innovative ideas/products and services.
Task: Take time to go through the psychology of a customer, how they decide, and how you can assist them in doing so!
What makes a good sales person?
The best sales people are the ones who put themselves in their customer’s shoes and provide a solution that makes the customer happy.
1) The best sales person is the one the customer trusts and never has to question.
2) The best sales person is the one who knows that with every cold call made, he is closer to helping someone.
3) The best sales person is the one who takes immense satisfaction from the satisfaction her customers gets.
4) The best sales person is the one who wakes up early every morning excited to come to the office, get on the phone and let people know exactly why he loves his product, job and clients.
Every person can learn to be great sales-person. All you have to do is put in the effort and care about your company, your prospects and customers.
Taking No for an answer and other business mistakes!
1. When selling, if the answer is NO, try to understand why, then you can better the product/service.
Remember! “Every No gets me closer to a Yes.”
– Don’t push someone who said No.
– Be courageous and diligent in sales! It is more or less the same as looking for assistance when starting out. But if you believe, deeply in what you do, it is going to be fun and exciting to find your next customer and show off how amazing your product/idea is. If the last person didn’t get it, that’s his/her problem, not yours.
Living in a tense economy, AKA sometimes you have to say ‘cheeseburger’
If you just got fired or your company went out of business- it’s just bad!!!
You should then ask, how do you turn this time into the start of something.
Mark Cuban’s ‘cheeseburger’ to-do list.
1) Recognise that it’s okay to live like a student where you live, how you live, the kind of a car you drive, the clothes you wear- it doesn’t matter. Yes, really, it doesn’t matter’
Your biggest enemies are your bills. The more you owe, the more you stress.
The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. More importantly, if you set your monthly income requirements too high, you eliminate a significant number of opportunities.
“the cheaper you live, the greater your options.” Mark Cuban.
2) Take lots of chances.
– Try lots of different stuff to find out what you really love to do. Brace yourself for lots of difficulty to get a job through.
– Look beyond normality. Work harder!
3) Figure out if you’re in the right job.
Money should be a secondary if you found your love job.
4) Figure out how to be the best at it;
– Be the best in the world at it. When you’re there- the demand for your service will peak.
5) Start the day motivated with a positive attitude.
– You’ll mess up sometimes, but don’t stop.
– Renew your attitude and spirit every day to take on the challenges of the day and hustle your way out, chasing your dreams.
– It won’t be all smooth and rosy- but enjoy the ride- that’s the best you can do at least- lol, otherwise you will be miserable.
Have fun! Enjoy it… Laugh it off!
Why You Should Never Listen To Your Customers:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” Alan Ray.
Rather than ask customers, envision a better, a different world for them and present it at their level. They’ll sure love it!
It’s the job of the entrepreneur to create the future- to make things simpler & more efficient. And insanely great and unique to suit your customers.
Twelve Cuban Rules for Start-ups!
1) Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love.
2) If you have an exit strategy, it’ not an obsession.
3) Hire people who you think will love working there.
4) Sales cure all. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.
5) Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the love comp. Hire people that fit your culture but are cheap.
6) Don’t waste money on unnecessary objects. Capitalise on your time.
7) Keep an open office space. Everyone will be in tune of what is happening and keep energy levels up.
8) For technology, go with what you know.
9) Keep the organization lean. i.e. cut bureaucracy as much as possible.
10) Never, ever buy swag. A sure sign of failure.
11) Never ever hire a PR firm. Do it yourself. Get your name out-there – be creative.
12) Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them.
Twelve Cuban Mantras For Success.
1) Time is more valuable than money.
– Learn how to use your time wisely and be productive. How wisely you use your time will have far more impact on your life and success than any amount of money.
2) Commit random acts of kindness.
– Give back. Make those around you smile. Find a way!!
3) No balls. No babies.
– Once you are prepared and you think you have every angle of preparation covered you have to go for it!
4) Work hard. Play hard.
– You have to have a way to blow off steam so you don’t blow a gasket.
5) Don’t let fear be a roadblock.
– In search for success, you can fail any number of times, you only have to get it right one time.
6) Expect the unexpected, and always be ready.
– Get used to it, and leverage on it. Life is unpredictable.
7) It’s okay to yell and be yelled at.
– Vent out emotions. Fix issues, and move on with life.
8) Everyone gets down, the key is how soon you get back.
– You’ll be discouraged, fearful, lash, but remember- You, only you can fix it, can inspire confidence and passion to move on. Don’t dwell on your sob stones.
– The people who will be truly successful are those who fight through the quickest and come back stronger and smarter.
9) It’s not whether the glass in half empty or half full, it’s who is pouring the water.
– The key in business and success at any endeavour is doing your best to control your destiny. You can always do it but you have to take every opportunity you can to be as prepared as -and ahead of – the competition as you possibly can. Take the lead and control your destiny.
10) It’s not in the dreaming, it’s in the doing.
– Everyone can dream. But YOU, DO IT!!
– We always have to ask, so, how do we move from where we are, to where we aspire to be? i.e. What exactly is it going to take to do it; rather than dream about it?
11) Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered
– Never get too greedy. It will kill you
– Play fair. Especially with partners and other stake-holders.
12) You only have to be right once!