There are few leaders as successful, outspoken, and intelligent as American businessman Mark Cuban.

An entrepreneur, investor, and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV, Cuban is worth a reported 3 billion USD. Most recently, Cuban’s become a “shark” investor on the television series Shark Tank. It should come as no surprise that with all of his success he’s had to learn some things the hard way. Luckily for us, he’s willing to share. Here are 10 business lessons from renowned businessman Mark Cuban.

1. “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.”

2. “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.”

3. “Recessions are the best time to start a company. Companies fail. Others hold back capital. If you are willing to do the preparation and work, it is the best time to invest in yourself and start a business.”

4. “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.”

5. “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.”

6. “It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone… And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”

7. “Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople. At Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. The Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or ten for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party.”

8. “I love to challenge conventional wisdom. I’m a big believer that in business and in politics, when everyone is doing the same thing, none are probably as effective or successful as they could be. Typically it’s not prudent for people within those industries, parties, or organizations to stand up and challenge the incumbents. It is usually a formula for losing a job, customer, or endorsement. My businesses are usually built around challenging conventional wisdom, so I tend to gain by taking the other side. It’s been very profitable and entertaining for me.”

9. “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.”

10. “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’re selling. Don’t sell your product. Solve their problems.”

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Photo: JD Lasica, Flickr.com

Adam Buschbacher is the Founder of Success Fastlane — SuccessFastlane.com Follow him on twitter @A_Buschbacher

Tagged: Mark Cuban, Business, Investing