I recently discovered that Mark Cuban has a book on entrepreneurship and business titled How To Win At The Sport of Business. One of the great things about this book is that it’s that rare combination of brevity and high impact. At under 70 pages it’s a quick read, but there is some really valuable information within.
In How To Win At The Sport of Business, Mark Cuban tells the story of how he became a billionaire and the struggle he endured to achieve that level of success. This book is really refreshing in that it lays out the good, bad, and ugly of entrepreneurship.
Mark Cuban literally started with nothing and rose to his present level of prominence. Early in the book Mark Cuban describes how he had lived in an overcrowded apartment, had a beat up car that he could put his foot through the floor, and how one of his early triumphs allowed him to purchase clean towels and more than a single suit and tie.
It’s fascinating to watch the story unfold and the challenges described as Mark Cuban achieves greater levels of success. I really enjoy these types of stories as they show great men starting off at humble beginnings and rising to greatness over time. There are even photos within the book at various parts of his life. One of my favorites is a photo of one of his first apartments where he displayed a “Poverty Sucks” poster.
There is much to learn from this book but here are a handful of lessons that jumped out at me.
You Only Need To Be Right Once
Whether in love or in business you will likely achieve many failures in your quest for success. Once you discover the business idea that you are passionate about and resonates with the market – you really only need to do this once. The good news is that according to Mark Cuban, once you hit it big nobody will remember the many failed attempts along the way. The downside is that everyone also misses the hard work along the way and attributes it to luck. The main takeaway here – keep working on your business ideas until you achieve success. Every failure gets you that much closer to success!
The Only Legitimate Funding Sources Are From You & Your Customers
Forget fundraising. Once you take funding from a potential investor it’s no longer your dream and you lose all leverage to the investor. You’re playing their game and not yours. If you can’t fund it yourself seek an advance from a paying customer. I was actually quite surprised by this advice given his celebrity investor status – but it makes perfect sense.
Be A Customer of Your Own Product
When starting a business consider if you would be a customer of your own product or service. If you’re not a customer, you likely will not be good at running the business. As a customer you have insights into where the gaps lie within the existing offerings. This is likely one of those keys to discovering passion as well – begin with the products and services that you purchase yourself.
Sales Are Critical
One of the key themes in How To Win At The Sport of Business is the importance of sales. There is one point in the book where Mark Cuban cuts away all non-sales activities from his routine. He basically realized that time wasn’t an effective way to measure value in the business and he begins spending his time strictly on sales related activities. When customers were available during business hours he would make sales calls and during the off hours he would prepare for the next day’s sales calls. Sales are essentially what drove his success.
This is one of the those lessons that seems simple and obvious at first glance but really isn’t. How many hours do you spend on sales? Probably not as many as you should. At least this is the realization that I have come to.
Enjoy The Present
A theme that I keep rediscovering is the importance of being present-minded. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to daydream about the future, specifically what their life will be like when they achieve success. Present happiness is sacrificed for potential future happiness.
According to Mark Cuban you should enjoy every moment of the journey. The time to be happy is now. Even the challenges should be savored as learning experiences. The time to be happy is now – enjoy every moment!
How To Win At The Sport of Business is packed with useful information and insight and led me to re-evaluate myself as an entrepreneur.. Given the short time commitment and level of success of the author I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Photo Credit: Amazon