Business Advice, Startup Advice

Three pieces of no-nonsense advice for entrepreneurs from billionaire Mark Cuban

Dominic Powell /

Mark Cuban

Source: EPA/Nina Prommer

Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who make sure no one else can “outwork” them, according to billionaire entrepreneur and Shark Tank US judge Mark Cuban.

The prominent businessman and investor, who has an estimated net worth of around US$3.4 billion ($4.5 billion), recently sat down with CNBC and Inc at the network’s iCONIC Conference to discuss a range of topics, including what he’d do if he were president.

He also dished out three pieces of no-nonsense advice for budding entrepreneurs.

1. Sales are key

When asked about the three key things entrepreneurs should concentrate on when starting or growing a business, Cuban quickly responded: “Sales cures all”.

“There’s never been a business that has succeeded without sales,” he said.

The comments echo what Cuban previously mentioned at the Dreamforce conference last year, telling startups “the proof is in the pricing”.

“How are you going to scale?” he asked startups during the conference’s pitching competition.

“You can just grow as your data set grows, you don’t have to sit and reprogram? How do you price it?”

2. Don’t ask for help

Despite acknowledging the “counterintuitive” nature of the advice, Cuban told listeners to “never ask for help”.

“One of the things challenging companies right now is that they want a mentor or a tutor,” he says.

“Get out there and ready, fire, aim. Get off your ass and go to f-cking work.”

Cuban believes the best course of action for struggling entrepreneurs is to “figure shit out yourself”, saying continuously asking for help when in the learning process is where startups get “caught up”.

3. Know more than anyone else

Although some might think building a portfolio as impressive as Cuban’s may have taken some risk taking, the investor maintains, “I don’t take risks”. Instead, he highlights the importance of being prepared.

“When you walk into a room, if you don’t know more about your business, your industry, your company, or your customer than everybody else in the world, you don’t know shit then,” he says.

“Because someone like me is just going to kick your ass.”

“If there’s someone who knows your business and your industry better than you, why would they buy from you?”

Cuban says entrepreneurs and business founders must ensure “nobody can outwork you”, even when times seem tough.

“Everybody is a mess at times. You get scared, you think, ‘am I going to make it, am I smart enough’, whatever it may be,” he says.

“Shit happens, get over it and get back to the grind.

“Success isn’t a straight line, you’ve got to recgonise you don’t have it figured out, but you can put in the effort to try and be prepared and know your shit better than anybody.”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a journalist at StartupSmart and a tech and music geek. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading or browsing record shops.

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