What makes a successful entrepreneur? Money, perseverance, vision?
How about: whining?
Mark Cuban, the thoughtful founder of Broadcast.com and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, blogged recently about his tendency to whine. In high school, he whined about not being able to take business classes that were only available to seniors. At university he complained that his classes were too easy, so he snuck into the MBA classes. When he got a job selling software, he whined about having to sweep the floor and asked the owner if he could go out and close sales. “That led to me getting fired, which in turn led to me starting MicroSolutions.”
At MicroSolutions, Cuban whined that there were no companies to hook personal computers together, “so we became one of the first integrators for Novell Share Data Systems, which in turn became the core for our business that grew and grew until I sold it in 1990.”
Identifying problems and turning them into opportunities became the theme of his life. After whining about how he couldn't listen to Indiana basketball games in Dallas, he and a friend started AudioNet, which became Broadcast.com. At a Mavericks game in 1999 he whined that there was no energy in the building, no fun – so he ended up buying the Mavs.
Cuban claims he can’t understand why people think whining is a negative thing. “Whining is the first step towards change. It’s the moment when you realize something is very wrong, and that you have to take the initiative to do something about it.”
Cuban doesn't seem to realize that most people never take that step toward change; they whine, then shrug, then go back to whatever it is they were doing. It’s the rare, focused, passionate type that turns a complaint into an opportunity - or a fortune.
The takeaway for marketers: Many entrepreneurs were never told by their parents to shut up and stop complaining. They learned early on to be impatient and have high expectations.
If you’re selling to entrepreneurs, you may have already encountered those high expectations. Businesses that don't provide quality products and services have trouble keeping entrepreneurial customers; they're never satisfied.
For successful selling, make sure your product or service has exceptional features that make them superior to the competition. And never, ever compromise that edge. Business owners will be your biggest fans, but they will turn on you in a minute if they think they're no longer getting the value they're paying for.
Entrepreneurs are change agents. And they expect no less of partners such as you.
To read Mark Cuban’s original post, click here.