Business Advice

‘I wouldn’t have done business with me’: The mistakes Mark Cuban made and how to avoid them

Matthew Elmas /

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban. Source: EPA/Nina Prommer.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban has built billion-dollar companies and turned around an entire NBA franchise, but he’s no stranger to criticism.

The 60-year-old billionaire has ruffled plenty of feathers throughout his career. Remember the time he said the NBA’s head of refereeing wasn’t even fit to be a manager at US ice cream chain Dairy Queen?

Even Cuban wouldn’t have wanted to do business with himself when he was younger.

“Early on in my career, I was bam, bam, bam … I might curse, I might get mad, and it just got to the point … I wouldn’t have wanted to do business with me when I was in my 20s,” Cuban revealed in a recent interview with Vanity Fair.

But the Dallas Mavericks owner says he’s undergone a “metamorphosis” of sorts in recent years and is now an avid believer in being the nice guy.

Do away with the stereotypes of the rude chief executive, Cuban said, because nice sells.

“One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice,” Cuban said.

“I’ve had to change, and I did, and it really paid off.”

Being nice is now one of Cuban’s top tips for investors, but it’s not the only lesson he’s learnt over the years.

Amid the revelation he needed to make serious changes to the business philosophy behind the NBA to turn around the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban says he made some errors in judgement.

“I made mistakes in the diversity in our organisation. We were having guys that looked like me trying to sell season ticket packages to moms. It didn’t make sense,” he said.

“We were kind of blind to the best way to do it. We had to bring in a new CEO who opened up our eyes to really finding people who can connect to a new customer base.”

Cuban says business owners and entrepreneurs should learn from his mistakes by being open to outside perspectives and promoting diversity.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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