‘Shark Tank’s’ Mark Cuban Shares His Advice for Entrepreneurs

Words of wisdom straight from the Shark's mouth.
(Photo: CNBC)

The outspoken owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban is a self-made media and technology billionaire who puts considerable cash on the line as an investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which returns for its eighth season on September 23. Of the 71 companies he’s invested some $20 million in to date, “I’d say five haven’t done well,” Cuban estimated at a recent event promoting ABC’s fall programming.

At that event he shared some sage advice entrepreneurs would do well to follow.

Successful entrepreneurs have five things in common

“They work hard. They work smart. They understand their industries. They understand their management skills and where they’re strong. They know what they don’t know and they get people to help them when they don’t know it.”


(Photo: CNBC)

A good idea isn’t enough

“The idea is the easy part. We’ve all had ideas. Everybody you know has had an idea. They get all excited about it, Google it, and think that nobody’s ever done it because it’s not on Google. Rather than saying, ‘Let me see if I can sell any, they think, ‘Can I raise money?’ or they find some other excuse to not do it. Just go do it!”

An investment isn’t the Holy Grail it may appear to be

“They think it’s all about raising money. It’s not. I’ll take brains over cash any day. Sweat equity is the best way to start a business. It’s about sales. No company ever succeeded without sales. You’ve got to go out there and sell.”

Know whom you’re selling to

“You have to understand your customer, understand their needs, and try to fill those needs. You could be an eight-year-old with a lemonade stand. It’s the same way.”

Media exposure and publicity are nice but they don’t replace hard work

“The businesses that I’ve seen suffer the most have been the ones that got this big bump after appearing on ‘Shark Tank.’ They’re dependent on what I call the Viagra impact of media and PR: You get that little bump that lasts for 20 minutes then you look for it again. They say, ‘If only we could just go on more TV shows.’ I’m like, ‘No, you’ve got to do the work and get it going.’”

Don’t be afraid to fail

“There are tons of bad ideas and tons of bad businesses. That’s the challenge. There’s nothing wrong with failing. It doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You’ve only got to be right one time. The one thing you can control as an entrepreneur is your effort. You have to put in the effort and do the work.”


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