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Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1958, Mark Cuban is one of America’s most well known entrepreneurs and investors.
Raised in a Jewish working-class family, Cuban’s father was a furniture upholsterer and his mother moved between different jobs.
He took his first steps into business at just 12 years old, selling garbage bags in an attempt to save the money he needed for an expensive pair of basketball shoes.
At 16, Mark Cuban was already learning to take advantage of the market, getting around the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette strike by running newspapers from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.
Mark Cuban chose the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana for his degree in Management without even visiting the campus, as it “had the least expensive tuition of all the business schools on the top 10 list.” After graduating, Cuban moved to Dallas, TX in 1982, working first in a bar and then as a software salesman for Your Business Software, one of the earliest PC software retailers in Dallas.
After being fired for pursuing his own business interests over those of Your Business Software, Cuban founded his own company called MicroSolutions.
With the support of customers from his previous job, MicroSolutions quickly grew to more than $30million in revenue. Cuban sold it for $6million in 1990 and ploughed the profits into Broadcast.com, a live-streaming service.
Cuban began to diversify his investments to avoid exposure to a market crash.
From Landmark Theaters to Magnolia Pictures and the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, Mark Cuban has also invested in dozens of start-up companies through the ABC reality series, Shark Tank.
He wrote How to Win at the Sport of Business in 2011 about his experiences in sport and business.
With an estimated worth of $4.1 billion in 2019, Cuban is an incredibly motivated and astute businessman. So here are the best Mark Cuban quotes to inspire you to work hard and go for greatness.
Mark Cuban Quotes
It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success.
I look at my annual budgets for everything and anything, and I look to see where I can save the most money on those items. Saving 30% to 50% buying in bulk – replenishable items from toothpaste to soup, or whatever I use a lot of – is the best guaranteed return on investment you can get anywhere.
Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.
I’m a believer that you accomplish much, much more with direct relationships than by using an intermediary. And that cash you keep in the bank can be the difference between staying alive as a small business, or not.
If you’ve got $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, you’re better off paying off any debt you have because that’s a guaranteed return.
I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t fail a lot. The good, the bad, it’s all part of the success equation.
What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.
Everyone is passionate about something. Usually more than one thing. We are born with it. There are always going to be things we love to do. That we dream about doing. That we really, really want to do with our lives. Those passions aren’t worth a nickel.
It’s not whom you know. It’s not how much money you have. It’s very simple. It’s whether or not you have the edge and have the guts to use it.
Always ask yourself how someone could preempt your product or service.
Do we know what we are designed to be or do we find out through experience?
With every effort, I learned a lot. With every mistake, I learned what not to do.
The edge is knowing people think you’re crazy, and they’re right, but you don’t care what they think.
Everyday I look in the mirror and make sure I don’t pinch myself so I don’t wake up. I don’t take it for granted. All the time I say ‘Why me?’
It’s always better if you’re honest with yourself and anticipate where the problems could come from.
I had to kick myself in the ass and recommit to getting up early, staying up late and consuming anything I possibly could to get an edge.
Relaxing is for the other guy.
Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.
I still work hard to know my business. I’m continuously looking for ways to improve all my companies, and I’m always selling. Always.
I worked hard and smarter than most people in the businesses I have been in.
Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to have fun accomplishing what others are too afraid to do.
Because if you’re prepared and you know what it takes. It’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.
Learn to sell. In business you’re always selling – to your prospects, investors and employees. To be the best salesperson put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you are selling. Don’t sell your product. Solve their problem.
If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.
Pay attention to what’s happening around you. Don’t think there’s just one way to do things—context is everything.
One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice.
In every business I have had, I have made sure my customers have had my email address and can reach me directly.
Great entrepreneurs invest the time, no matter how many hours a day, to learn more about their industry and the business they want to start than anyone else.
What is your grind?
It’s not about money or connections, it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.
What I do know, at least what I think I have learned from my experiences in business, is that when there is a rush for everyone to do the same thing, it becomes more difficult to do. Not easier. Harder.
Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense. Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make, the more of a financial impact you can have.
The one person who you should never believe when it comes to evaluating your abilities is you. The very worst judge of your abilities is you. Self-evaluation is never successful. When you are the best at something, the demand for your services will grow. People want to hire the best. They want to be associated with the best.
In my opinion, right now, there’s way too much hype on the technologies and not enough attention to the real businesses behind them.
Your biggest enemies are your bills. The more you owe, the more you stress. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. More importantly, if you set your monthly income requirements too high, you eliminate a significant number of opportunities. The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.
If you’re looking where everybody else is looking, you’re looking in the wrong spot.
Once you have found out what you love to do, there is only one goal: How can you be the best in the world at it. It doesn’t matter if you are a filing clerk, athlete, accountant, or bartender. All that matters is that you do whatever you can to be the best.
Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.
Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.
Entrepreneurs have to be brutally honest with themselves and recognize where they have added value and where they have gone along for the ride.
I retired at twenty-nine, bought a life-time pass on American Airlines and my only goal in life was to party like a mad man and get drunk with as many people as possible. And I was happy right there. But when we started the streaming business, I knew it could be something big.
You have to learn how to use time wisely and be productive. How wisely you use your time will have far more impact on your life and success than any amount of money.
Those back-to-back experiences confirmed what I already knew: That I was a shitty-ass employee and I’d better start my own business.
Patent law holds us back, in every which way, shape or form. There is place for it, in physical products, in pharmaceuticals, but in software in particular, there is no place for it.
You learn in life that a lot of things are the result of effort, but some things, in terms of scale, are random.
We don’t sell wins or losses. The one thing you can’t control in sports is which games you are going to win or which games you are going to lose. But what I could control was the experience the fans have.
I want the bad news first.
One thing we can all control is effort. Put in the time to become an expert in whatever you’re doing. It will give you an advantage because most people don’t do this.
I’m always afraid of failing. It’s great motivation to work harder.
It’s hard not to fool yourself. Everyone tells you how they are going to be special. But few do the work to get there. Do the work.
Creating opportunities means looking where others are not.
Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.
It’s called working your ass off.
I’m a big believer that you always reiterate, you always learn, you always realize your business is evolving.
When you’ve got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be number 10,001?
The number-one job of the hedge-fund manager is not to make sure that you can retire with a smile on your face – it’s for him to retire with a smile on his face.
A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo-embroidered polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, it’s okay to buy for your own employees, but if you really think people are going to wear your branded polo when they’re out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money.
I create offbeat advice; I don’t follow it. I rarely take third-party advice on my investments.
It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.
If you are ahead of the curve and you can anticipate where things are going … anything is possible.
We can talk about republican or democratic approaches to the economy, but until you fix the student loan bubble – and that’s where the real bubble is – and the tuition bubble, we don’t have a chance. All this other stuff is shuffling deck- chairs on the Titanic.
I love to compete. Somebody out there is competing against me, and I want to kick your ass. I say it all the time: Business is the ultimate sport.
You always have to know what business you are in. Everybody thought we were in the basketball business. It’s an NBA-team; we are not in the basketball business. We are in the business of creating experiences and memories.
When you first start working for me, directly for me, I micromanage until I trust you.
Customers want to see that you have other customers.
I spend time in bookstores because one idea from a book or magazine can make me money.
Effort is measured by setting goals and getting results.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of Mark Cuban quotes! This entrepreneur-investor is proof that you can transform your ideas and passions into profits if you put the work in, stay motivated, and never get disheartened by failure.
Whatever Mark Cuban chooses to do next, we’re sure it’ll be a success, and wish you the same too.
Updated February 11, 2021.