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Mark Cuban's Resilience Tips for Startups

Founder of Orchid Agency
Mariya Finkelshteyn
April 13, 2020
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In these uncertain times, things are changing rapidly and we are all being forced to adapt. As a result, we are looking for tools, advice and inspiration - especially for startups and small businesses as they are less economically secure than larger enterprises. 

As a self-made billionaire, Dallas Mavericks owner, Shark Tank judge, Mark Cuban is known for his bold business moves and outspoken personality. However, he also knows a thing or two about starting and scaling businesses.

Here are some great tips from Mark Cuban on how startups and small businesses can stay resilient and overcome uncertainty during this troublesome time.

Take Advantage of Government Assistance

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Now is the time to take advantage of the Small Business Association (SBA) program and loans. The COVID-19 stimulus program offers $367 billion in relief for workers and small businesses. The goal of the stimulus is to allow your company to cover costs and continue to pay your employees. In order to participate, startups and small businesses would need to work with their banks.  While it's only been a few weeks since the launch of the stimulus program, the banks are a complete mess. No one was preferred for this crisis and we are all learning on how to manage it as we go - including the banks.

The banks are just as confused as you are thus it is important to stay resilient throughout this time and work closely with the banks. Put yourself in their shoes, as they are also trying to figure this out as it goes. For some companies, the assistant loans could be the point of keeping your business afloat. 

Stop Selling and Start Empathizing 

While we all may be fearful during this uncertain time, we have to learn how to survive so that we can thrive in the future.  How do we do that? Pivot marketing and sales from selling to empathize with our prospects and customers. Think about it - during this time of turmoil where folks are losing their loved ones, no one wants to purchase anything unless it's access to the vaccine that we don't have.  Businesses are run by people, and in this moment of crisis the people want kindness, support and empathy versus another sleazy salesman or overly aggressive marketing person cluttering their inbox.

So what do you do? Pivot.  Since most teams are going remove, reach out to your customers and prospects. Ask them how they are doing? Truly lead with compassion, kindness and information that could help each other and the communities. And please, do not expect any MQLs, or ROI from these engagements. We are building each other up for the future.

Now is the time to connect more than sell. Every single person in your CRM or marketing automation platform (MAP) is scared and just want to hear a reassuring voice. 

"Lead with compassionate and new information on how to help - or don't bother wasting time and cluttering inboxes with another promotional campaign or offer."

And sales - check in with your prospects and customers. Remember you don’t need to sell right now directly. You need to pivot your strategy to communicate well, openly, honestly and with empathy. If you are being nice and just checking in with your book of accounts at this time - they will remember that act of support and kindness. At the end of the day people buy from people that are nice as no one wants to do business with a jerk. The best way to stay top of mind with prospects is through compassion and kindness. Trust me - you will be the first person they think of when this turmoil is over and when things are back to normal.

Lead Teams with Transparency 

For leaders, this is the time to step it up. Yes, this pandemic is hard and it sucks. We are all going through the greatest reset of our lifetime. However as a leader its your responsibility to provide transparency, guidance and comfort in times of uncertainty. 

One of the ways to motivate the team is to inspire them to think about what would be America 2.0 after this. Ask the team “What is your vision for things after the pandemic is over and what does the picture of America 2.0 look like after this reset?”  by Mark Cuban

When it comes to a great idea, it could come from your team, all you have to do is ask. If that's not possible then just stick to the basics. Always treat everyone with respect, be transparent and kind throughout this unfortunate time.

In the End

Part of being a startup is learning how to accurately and quickly pivot to achieve the best results. These tips from Mark will help companies acquire capital, pivot marketing and sales and lead teams during the most unprecedented time. Implementing these tips will allow you to survive the turmoil so you can thrive in the future.