WATCH: Mark Cuban Shares 5 Business and Life Lessons
By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mark Cuban, one of America’s best known entrepreneurs, spent an hour with WCBS 880 for a special Virtual Business Breakfast, presented by Dime Community Bank. It was a program filled with lessons on business and life.
Here are some of the actionable and inspiring takeaways from the “Shark Tank” star. The full event is available to watch on-demand above.
1. Always Be Learning
Cuban told the WCBS Virtual Business Breakfast he tries to spend an hour a day trying to learn something new about the many industries in which he’s invested. That can be anything from reading about algorithm changes to Instagram and how that impacts digital sales strategy to new technologies.
“I think one of the easiest ways to get a competitive advantage in any business is just to put in the time to learn,” he said.
The self-made billionaire said the business owner must be the best salesperson in a company because he or she cannot hire someone to know their business better than them.
“I call it home run hiring. And it might be you’re trying to find an employee and you think, ‘Well, if I just hired the right marketing person or the right SEO person or the right salesperson, they’ll solve my problems,'” explained Cuban. “That rarely, rarely, rarely, if ever, works. If you find yourself having to turn to someone on the outside because you haven’t been able to put in the time, not only is it hard to find a person that’s going to solve your problems, but you don’t even know the right things to tell them because you don’t understand the issues that you’re trying to solve.”
He advised business owners to put the time in to learn their business inside out, so they can ask the right questions of a potential new employee.
2. Don’t Overspend on Inventory
“Every entrepreneur does it,” said Cuban.
The Shark tells the business owners he’s invested in on the show to be realistic or they risk spending themselves out of business.
“When they write a business plan, they get in front of their spreadsheet and they start thinking, ‘Okay, if I can sell six of these, this covers my cost here. Twelve of those—no I can sell more than 12, I’ll sell a hundred.’ And all of a sudden, you know, you’ve got these pie in the sky numbers that have no base in reality.”
3. Don’t Rack Up College Debt
It’s not worth it, says the business mogul and father of three.
“If you can’t afford college without taking out a loan, which for many people that’s a reality, I’m a big believer (that) you go to community college for the first two years because introduction to sociology, introduction to accounting, introduction to calculus, it’s the same at Harvard as it is at Richland Community College.”
Cuban told WCBS 880 debt will hurt you more than attending an expensive college will help.
4. Teaching Financial Responsibility to Kids
How does a billionaire teach financial responsibility to his kids? “It’s hard,” Cuban admits, but said it’s important to teach money lessons early.
“(My kids) had to find ways to earn money to be able to buy the big things they wanted because we weren’t just going to buy them whatever they wanted,” he said. “And they also had to understand what things cost and if something was too expensive, they weren’t going to get it.”
5. Practice Self-Care
You may think someone like Mark Cuban works 24/7, but he said it’s vital for him to take mental breaks.
“I always have one thing that I do that allows me to de-stress, and I go shoot baskets,” said Cuban of his passion for basketball. “I have a little basket out in the backyard, I can go to the gym, I can go to the arena or (the Dallas Mavericks) practice facility when no one else is there and just get up shots. And that allows me just to feel good because the sound of the ball going through the net, all problems go away for that second, right? And if I’m missing shots, I’m thinking about my shot. I’m not thinking about, ‘What about this customer?’ Or, ‘Can we add this drug to CostPlusDrugs.com,’ etc.? Everybody’s got to find that one release that they have that just diverts their attention from everything that they’re doing.”
The Mavs and Cost Plus Drugs owner also declared “nice sells” and helps to reduce stress for yourself and company stakeholders.
“Be nice. You know, nice sells. Nice is one of the easiest assets that you can have in your company. And when you have a culture of being really nice to each other and nice to customers, nice to prospects, things work out a lot better.”
See more tips for business and life success from Mark Cuban on the WCBS Virtual Business Breakfast, presented by Dime Community Bank. The hour-long program is at the top of this page.