Industry News

Shark Tank's Mark Cuban Opens Up at PBA Business Forum

Stacey Soble | July 14, 2014 | 5:22 PM

Shark Tank's Mark Cuban Opens Up at PBA Business ForumStemming from a desire to not give a canned presentation at this year’s PBA Business Forum held during Cosmoprof at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, entrepreneur extraordinaire and Shark Tank Star Mark Cuban delivered in key advice for achieving success in a few brief moments on stage before volunteering himself for an intense and dynamic question and answer session.

“The key to being successful is not about having a good idea or being passionate about—everyone has good ideas and a passion for something,” Cuban told the audience. “It’s all about the effort that you put into it. You also have to know your competition, have to be prepared, have to understand your industry and finally and most important—sales cures all. No one is successful without sales.”

After sharing those words of wisdom, Cuban took a seat on stage with PBA Chairman Scott Buchanan, WWD’s Faye Brookman and Creative Age’s Deborah Carver who took turns peppering him with questions, as well as sharing questions for Cuban from the audience that were tweeted in. Following are some of Cuban’s words on wisdom:

On what motivates him: “Business is the ultimate sport. And, I love to kick the competition’s ass.”

On what keeps him up at night: “My kids’ health. The family stuff, like most people. When I was younger, I would be more consumed by dreaming and thinking about business. But businesses have life cycles and you’re consumed by it in the start up phase. Now I worry about keeping customers happy and being myself. Good customer service is like great sex. You give it to them, you ask if they liked it and if they say yes, you give it to them again.”

On honesty: "One thing we do as entrepreneurs is lie to ourselves. We make claims and start to believe them. You have to be brutally honest with yourself.”

On trademarks and patents: “It’s a good idea to trademark your name, because you don’t want to spend too much developing your product or business only to realize you have to change your name. Patents are tougher and a lot more expensive. I believe the best way to protect your business is to create a product or service so well that your customers wouldn’t consider using anything else.”

On social media: “It’s effective, but it’s also a moving target and you have to continue to relearn it and work to capture attention span every day. If you’re your content isn’t fresh and innovative, you’re not connecting and you’ll lose attention.”

On government regulation: “While the government never seems to do anything right, we’ve got to be willing to accept some inefficiencies to have that oversight and protection. While I rather see an independent third party be responsible for oversight, that’s not practical.”

On what companies he admires: “Apple under Steve Jobs and Google, but mostly I admire the young start ups. I like to see how they are changing the landscape. Fortunes are made when you change the game.”

On motivating employees: “You have to put yourself in their position, then really connect with them and try to be open-minded. When I was starting out, I’d walk around with a bottle and give employees shots. I’ve also been known to celebrate a big sale, but walking around with $100 bills and giving them out.”

On communicating with his various companies: “I don’t do phone calls or meetings—I don’t want to hear about your wife or your kids. I get a weekly report, but want the bad news first. Want to know what needs to be done. And, I field about 100 emails me what not to do a day, answering questions.”

On the hardest job he ever had: “Selling powdered milk. And also working in a deli, where I had the tip of my finger cut off. I’ve been fired from more jobs than most people have in a lifetime. And, I’ve had a lot of jobs that sucked, but I learned from every one of them. They taught me what not to do.”

On the labels he was wearing: “Jacque Penney and Target. I’m wearing this shirt because it was clean, but I do wish I was wearing my cool MBA socks. My morning philosophy is to pick up an article of clothing,, give it a sniff and if it smells clean, put it on.”

On boxers or briefs: “Commando.”

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