July 26, 2019
By nature, entrepreneurs are intelligent, passionate, ambitious people. But all of those smarts and drive don’t always mean every business owner makes all the right decisions all of the time. Hopefully the blunders that are made aren’t big enough that the business fails.
We reached out to tech billionaire Mark Cuban to find out the things that entrepreneurs do that absolutely drive him bonkers. As a longtime investor on ABC's hit TV show Shark Tank, Cuban has encountered his fair share of entrepreneurs who’ve made some serious missteps.
Whether you’re looking for investment money or quietly growing your business, Cuban says to avoid making the following mistakes at all costs.
Not understanding business basics.
One thing that drives Cuban crazy is when entrepreneurs lack the basics. A prime example, he says, is when entrepreneurs “don’t know the difference between a product and a feature.” Before an entrepreneur begins looking for investment money, starts producing a product, even before research and development, they need to have this fundamental understanding.
In other words, if a competitor sells only blue shirts, and your shirts are blue and red, you’ve merely created a feature. Products or services solve problems and people want to purchase them. Features are characteristics that add value to products.
Successful companies are founded on products—not features, Cuban says.
Thinking competition equals validation.
Creating something from nothing is no easy feat. Convincing people that you’re providing a valuable service and to buy your products sometimes requires a lot more. Cuban says it’s a big mistake to think that a big competitor moving into your market validates your business.
What it does—or should do—is make smart entrepreneurs extremely uneasy. “It means you are in deep trouble unless you can out-innovate and outsell them,” Cuban says.
Pegging your success on one ‘star’ employee.
As the old saying goes: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The same goes for hiring and team building.
Too often, business owners believe that “their next hire will solve their biggest problem,” Cuban says. Hiring the best marketer in the industry doesn’t mean you’ll magically figure out how to sell your stuff and everyone will live happily ever after, he says.
If your star employee leaves or fails, then so does everyone else. Growing a successful business requires all hands on deck, meaning everyone on the team needs to be pulling their weight—together.
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