In a keynote at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week Virtual Summit 2021, the Shark Tank star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks gave four tips for entrepreneurs to succeed during the pandemic and beyond, from dealing with cybersecurity threats to artificial intelligence.
“Running a small biz is never easy, but we chose this life,” he said.
1. Be agile
It’s no secret that pivoting has gotten a lot of businesses through the pandemic. While no one could have seen COVID-19 coming, Cuban said, continuing to adapt to it is what helps you keep going: “Learn new things because learning is your skill set.”
2. Communicate honestly and authentically
Last week, Cuban said, a company he is involved with got hacked. Someone clicked on a bad link, fell victim to a phishing scam, and the company lost $500,000 from its Shopify account. So what do you do in a situation like that? “You have to be honest, you have to communicate, and you have to go back to work,” he said. He advised the company to be transparent with everyone affected while working to deal with the problem.
In challenging times, you might have supply chain issues, anxiety about the pandemic, or employee issues (as does everyone else), but people will respect you the most if you’re authentic and honest with them about what’s going on, Cuban said. If they respect you, they’ll want to work with you again, he added.
3. Love your product
Sales is hard, but it’s also fundamental to every business, Cuban said. The tricks to making one more cold call when you feel like you just can’t sell anymore, are to tell yourself that every ‘no’ brings you nearer to a ‘yes,’ and to love your product. If you have that love and think what you’re selling will improve the lives of others, you can easily find the necessary motivation–and provide a positive model for other employees and salespeople in your company.
4. Keep up with the future
When Cuban was in his 20s and selling computers to people convinced their ledgers worked just fine, he was onto something. Today, he feels the same way about things like artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency. “Change is inevitable,” he said. You could build a competitive advantage by leaning in to the latest technology, he added. And while you don’t have to become a bitcoin expert, for example, you need to have a handle on how it could affect your business.