No matter how big your business gets, you never actually own it, according to Cuban. Your customers are the true owners, he says. "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," Cuban says.
One important way to keep customers happy is to be accessible. "In every business I have had, I have made sure my customers have had my email address and can reach me directly," Cuban says. "I've given my email address out on national TV. Customers of any of our businesses can and do email me with questions and comments. Each and every email is an opportunity for me to solidify a customer relationship or to add a new customer. I'm shocked that more entrepreneurs don't do the same."
2. Find your weaknesses before competitors do.
"If you have a business that competes with one of mine, I am going to try to kick your --- and put you out of business," he says. "I presume that you are trying to do the same thing [to me]…which is why I always try to look at each of my businesses from the perspective of my competition. I think, 'If I wanted to put my company out of business, what would I do? If I wanted to take customers away, what would I, as a competitor, do?' "
3. The best startup capital is 'sweat equity.'
"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 any one else," he says. "They realize that ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese are the fuel they need because every other penny they get from working that night job is going to fund their business."And Cuban says he knows all too well about making those sacrifices. "When I started MicroSolutions, I had just been fired from my last job and was living in a three-bedroom apartment with five other guys," he recalls. "I slept on the floor. My dinner was usually the late chicken dinner at Tom Thumb for $1.29. . . .It allowed me to stay focused on turning MicroSolutions into a $30 million business."