From Bartender To Self Made Billionaire...
Mark Cuban On How To Win At The Sport Of Business
I recently just finished reading Mark Cuban's book 'How To Win At The Sport Of Business' which I picked up on Amazon for $2.99. I can honestly say this is one book that you do need to pick up a copy of - the content is pure gold.
If you don't want to fork out a couple of bucks for a neatly formatted eBook you can find the same (scattered) content on Mark's blog at www.MaverickBlog.com
Here's what I Learnt From Mark Cuban, The Self Made Billionaire
"Most people won't put in the time to get a knowledge advantage"
Create a base of knowledge when you're young so you are ready when the time comes...
"You never know when the time will come, but you can be ready when it does"
When Mark started out selling computer systems (with literally no knowledge) he read every single computer manual he could get his hands on, because Mark put in the time to learn everything that he could in order to assist and fulfil his customer's needs he was able to compete with the larger more experienced companies.
To this day Mark still reads for 3~ hours per day.
Analyse your business, product or service closely - how could a competitor come along and take your out of business? Could they undercut your price? Could they ensure a higher level of availability or bonus features?
Once you have identified the potential risks and competitive advantages another company could have over you you can begin to prepare and safeguard against this.
Be ready to compete with the big boys in the business world, regardless of whether they're in direct competition against you at this present moment or not - as your business begins to take off this is something you'll have to keep in mind.
Business is a 7 x 24 x 365 forever sport.
If you want to succeed in business you have to have "the edge".
When starting up a new business the #1 asset you can invest in your business is sweat equity. Companies such as Facebook, Dell, HP, Apple and Microsoft were all started in a college dorm room or in a tiny residential garage - money isn't the key when starting out, a relentless work ethic is. Mark drives the point home by pointing out that the majority of start-ups need a combination of more brains and hard work, not capital.
People pay for convenience - they want the path of least resistance.
You need to ensure your product, business or service is the easiest and most accessible version out there.
Many families will happily pay more to download/rent a movie via a site such as Netflix than go out to the video store and rent it or even go to the cinemas to see the movie.
Sounds absurd right?
By entering their credit card details and clicking a couple of buttons they can watch the movie in the comfort of their own home, without having to worry about the behaviour and disruption their children cause.
This my friends, is the path of least resistance. They are PAYING for CONVENIENCE.
The total number of hours spent on a project or business is NOT the correct or ideal way to measure the amount of effort spent.
Goals and results are the only thing that matter in this case, you need to be working smart and hard... not just one or the other.
Prepare yourself and remain prepared.
"everyone has got the will to win, it's only those with the will to prepare to win".
Mark is a big believer in laser-like focus on ONE specific task at a time, there were 2 particular quotes I picked up on over the course of the book which really stuck with me in regards to productivity and the inefficiency of multi-tasking:
"Win the battles you are in before you take on new battles"
"You can drown in opportunity" - this one ties back in with the paralysis by over analysis concept I have discussed multiple times, albeit in the context of bodybuilding.
I have not seen or read of a single successful entrepreneur advocating multi-tasking whatsoever.
Make the decision, decide what you are going to do and then just do the damn thing.
"Either you make the commitment to get results or you don't".
Identify your one idea and then give it everything you have, work relentlessly around the clock!
On Decision Making:
When you hesitate regarding a decision ask yourself:
"When I'm 90 will I smile when I think back or will I frown & regret not having done it?"
By answering this simple question in your head you will be putting yourself out there for a hell of a lot more exciting experiences than you would have otherwise (Mark uses examples like Dancing with the Stars etc. for him).
Be frugal with your resources, as Mark says "The greatest obstacle to destiny is debt"...
We're talking about all kinds of debt here too:
Personal debt such as relationships and co-dependents.
Financial debt such as money owed.
Health debt such as disease, injuries etc. (Mark didn't mention this particular one however I see it fitting in with the overall message being conveyed here).
Out of these however, financial dead is the ultimate dream killer.
Should you put yourself in immense financial debt you'll be forced to work a job you hate, with no escape... sacrificing what you would like to do on an hourly or daily basis for a car or house.
"Your biggest enemies are your bills, the more you owe the more you stress"
When you're stressed you have an inability to focus on your goals. Huge problem.
The solution here is to simplify your life and try to eliminate as many unnecessary bills and possessions as necessary (throwing out all junk and items you don't use anymore is like therapy to me!). Who cares what car you drive or how big the house you live in is when you're severely restricting your opportunities by doing so?
On Customer Service:
"Treat your customers like they own your business, because they do".
Mark advocates experiencing your product, service or business from a customers point of view (Mark sits in general public and cheap seating at the Maverick's games, he also orders food from the same place as all other patrons to assess quality and the wait times etc.),
The fewer layers between yourself, the business owner and your customers' feedback and concerns the better - travelling through multiple levels, getting filtered and not getting passed on are signs of bad customer service which many big companies are guilty of (as they think they can get away with it, and to an extent they can).
And The Biggest Lesson...
You only have to be right once.
From the age of 23 Mark went through many different jobs and failed business attempts.
Unlike a game of baseball which involves consistently winning game after game - in the sport of business you only need to hit a home run once.
Mark's book 'How To Win At The Sport Of Business' is a breath of fresh air, it isn't another re-packaged piece of garbage containing the exact same advice as every other book (which seems to be the problem with many new releases these days). Mark's story is inspirational, his work ethic is motivating and this book is jam packed full of quotes and invaluable advice.
Pick up your copy of Cuban's book here.