How to Win at the Sport of Business, the title of Mark Cuban’s book in and of itself is enough to get any entrepreneur’s blood hot. If there is one common characteristic that I have noticed across the board it is that we are all extremely competitive. So is Mark Cuban. I think that Mark Cuban is often misunderstood and misinterpreted by the media on his philosophies. I recently finished his extremely insightful book, which actually isn’t a book at all – it is a collection of his blog posts strategically placed together.
There were so many key takeaways, but since I am a part of a start-up company I thought it made sense to share Mark Cuban’s rules for startups.
Here are Mark Cuban’s 6 Crucial rules for startups:
1. Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love
Entrepreneurs need to have a very clear understanding that start-ups are not going to be a cake-walk. When the going gets tough, you better love what you are doing so that you can stay focused and intentional. Too many people give up right before they hit it big and are successful. Being obsessed about your idea/product/service will help you through the adversity.
“Success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are – not what other people want you to be.” – Mark Cuban
2. Hire people who you think will love working there
This rule definitely builds upon the first rule in that when tough times arise, how will your employees react and face adversity? If your team truly is passionate about your company’s mission, you can have peace of mind in knowing that they are representing your brand in the most positive light as possible.
This reminds me of one of Mark’s quotes I highlighted in the book: “I have learned to hire people in whom I can build trust, and let them take the ball and run with it.”
3. Sales cure all
Mark says you have to know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales. This is so key in the start-up community. We are no longer in a “build it and they will come” type of economy. We are in the information age, the age of commoditization which means your company has to be able to demonstrate and deliver value to your customers. The only reason someone is going to buy from you is trust and perceived value, then it’s up to you to create a repeat customer.
Mark was actually fired from one of his first jobs because instead of completing his normal morning duties of opening the retail store, he was meeting with a prospect and ended up closing a deal! How about that for a roller coaster day.
4. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them
Mark always pays up for people in his core competencies. I relate this to staying the course, and not becoming scatterbrained with different ideas and projects. The following quote illustrates this point perfectly: “Win the battles you are in before you take on new battles.” This is so true, for example – in my business we have different verticals that seem appealing for us to penetrate. However, we haven’t won the battle on our main target market, why would we pivot to a different one?
“Expect the unexpected, and always be ready – everyone has inside them what it takes to be successful. You just have to be ready to unleash it when the opportunity presents itself.” – Mark Cuban
5. Coffee is for closers, lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk
I relate this to Keith Ferrazi’s book about never eating alone. As entrepreneur’s, we have to create opportunities for ourselves. We must understand we are usually disrupting otherwise stagnant industries and therefore need solid connections to support us. Networking and creating relationships that count can prove to be tough. You have to have tenacity, confidence, and the passion to push through the naysayers.
6. Make the job fun for employees
Creating work environments that induce the flow state in your employees is paramount. Each and every one of us works differently and uniquely. Allow your team to have fun, get into the flow, and produce. Study how to set goals that will create this state for your team. When your team is connected to their work and your company’s mission, productivity will skyrocket.
- Mark didn’t create uber-successful companies overnight, so don’t think you will either.
- Create an implementation plan – each month focus on one of the rules and figure out an action plan to implement the rule into your company. For example – For rule #5 – Research different events/tradeshows/groups that your customers are a part of. Once you know where they are, go to the events on a regular basis and find out how you can add FREE value. Do not go seeking to make a sale. Finally, create a follow up plan that keeps you connected with your new connections.
- Be patient, focus, and stay intentional. Review the rules, your implementation plans, and your results. Rinse. Wash Repeat.
I think these rules apply not only to startups, but can be implemented in any organization where people are working towards a common goal. Mark notes in his book that the way he became as successful as he did was by watching how the profitable companies in his niche operated, and then he emulated them. By following in his footsteps, Mark literally has laid the blueprint out for us to follow.
It is now up to you and I to go out there and positively affect change in our organizations. If you are not in a leadership position, share this article or come up with constructive ways that you can implement these rules into your company. Knowledge is not power, knowledge is potential power. Implementation of knowledge is where true power lies.