How to Win at the Sport of Business
Mark Cuban
Contributed by Andrea Barraza
Chapter 2

Successful businesses are built on the foundation of sound rule and principle. All leading businesses across the world are anchored on effective application of rules that are aimed at leading the company towards a particular direction. Cuban narrates that some companies, which he knew before he ventured into his software business, have stagnated to date while others collapsed. Upon an investigation into the conduct and principles of these companies, Cuban realized that there were numerous glaring mistakes made by these companies and that had an effect on their performance. Cuban presents certain lessons that are critical to both emerging businesses and established ventures.

The first lesson that Cuban presents are that any business must be in a position to detect how other persons may preempt their business. In an environment that is highly competitive, businesses must find ways through which they may determine if other organizations may throw them out of business, through either price competition, quality standards or any other market systems that competitor may manipulate to an organization's disadvantage. Since no product is perfect, there is always an attempt by competitors to demonstrate to the consumers what make their products the best in the market. Thus, any business must be wary of the activities of other players in the market. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that some businesses have collapsed because of their failure to monitor what other organizations are doing. In the end, businesses will realize that they have stayed behind and catching up with the rest may be extremely difficult.

The second lesson that Cuban presents in the book are that businesses must compete as if they are up against the best in the world. He says, “Always run your business like you are going to be competing with the biggest technology companies in your industry—Google, Facebook, Oracle, Microsoft, whomever.” The problem with a number of companies is that they restrict their competitors only to those direct rivals who they can see. All organizations must seek to compete against the best institutions in the market. In the absence of this, it would be difficult to motivate the staff to aim for greater achievements. The principle behind this assertion is that small ambitions will always lead to small results. Thu, it is always essential for companies to aim at competing against the industry giants. Cuban appreciates that "Watching the best taught me how to run my businesses. Along the way, I taught myself a few things.”

One of the commercial areas in which Cuban has interests in sports. Cuban appreciated that he always had the ambition to take part in sports and that was behind his decision to play basketball briefly. Though, he did not have an ambition in sports business as he grew up. While there are many good reasons to take part in sports business, there are also pitfalls that are associated with the participation in sports businesses. Some of the benefits of sports business is that a team known its direct opponents about their strengths and weaknesses, the playing time are known and even the time that the game will take. As a result, there is a sense in which the participants know how to prepare for the games. However, since competition in this sector takes place every day, it is quite exhausting. The management must be on toes all the time as it evaluates the most effective strategies to outcompete the opponents.

Besides, Cuban affirms that watching games is not s enthralling as playing the game. Playing the game presents an opportunity to learn while watching the game only serves as a source of entertainment and may not offer many lessons. To be successful in sports, just as in any other business, an organization must have the edge over others. It essential to determine the factors that would make one have a competitive edge over others. For instance, Cuban says that one of the ways of having the edge over others is the presence of money. Organizations that have money have control over those that do not have money since, with their money; they can do anything that would turn the fortunes in their favor. Cuban says that "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." That is the primary reason why the companies with huge financial resources keep growing while those with meagre resources keep experiencing dwindling fortunes. Thus, Cuban says that the true evidence of the success of any business is the ability to make money that will allow it to have the edge over others in the market.

Further, Cuban articulates that business is like a sport in which only the best survive. It is interesting to the players, and it may not be useful to spectators. Cuban says, each day; there is an individual plotting to venture into a business and it would threaten an existing venture. As knowledge advances, people are getting new ideas that they may use to get into the industry. The most important lesson that Cuban sends in this section that business is a sport that goes on all the times. There is no space for laxity. There is always another venture being opened, and that poses existential threats to the existing organizations.


The success of any business is anchored on the quality of rules, policies, and regulations that the organizations may put in place. There is evidence to support the idea that the companies, which establish sound policies and regulations always, succeed ahead of those with weak ambitions. Cuban points rightly that for a company to survive in the competitive market environment, it is essential for businesses to make sure that they raise their ambitions and compete with the rest of the organizations in the industry. Most importantly, businesses must aim at competing against the best in the industry. For example, if a company is competing in the technology industry, it has to aim at competing against the giants such as Google, Microsoft and other top-ranking firms across the world. It is out of this approach that an enterprise would avoid laxity.

As competition escalates in the industry, it is necessary for businesses to watch out for the existing and upcoming ventures that may pose threats to their competitiveness. A market intimation is an important tool that any business must seek. It is only through market information that a business may have knowledge of the potential threats and new trends in the market. Many businesses collapsed because of the failure to understand the trends in the market.

In an evolving business world, there is a need for businesses to make sure that they come up with strategies that will allow them to fit into changing environments. When a business fails to adapt to the changes in their environment, they end up failing to live to the expectation of the market. For example, there was a time when Motorola was a leading mobile phone manufacturing company. Nevertheless, with the advancement of technology, there came android phone, which proved to be extremely popular with the public. Besides, Motorola did not adapt to the changes in the environment, and it lost its place in the market. There is no way in which an organization can stick to its normal course of operations in a changing business landscape and manage to remain relevant in the industry.

Finally, competition is inevitable in any business environment. All entrepreneurs must embrace competition as a way of improving the quality of goods or services that they offer. It is necessary to make sure that there are sufficient levels of preparedness among businesses to compete with the rest. Most importantly, there is a need for business owners to preempt competition and find ways to mitigate the adverse effects that companies experience when they fail to compete effectively against the rest.

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