Entrepreneurs Mark Cuban, Ian McCue and Shaan Patel have combined their business smarts in an inspiring book that guides kids venturing into the entrepreneurial world the trio knows so well.
Former Texas Lifestyle Magazine cover man Mark Cuban is the self-made billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, while then 26-year-old Patel went from living in a motel to Shark Tank victory when he made an investment deal with Cuban for Patel’s company, Prep Expert SAT & ACT Preparation. As for McCue, he is the founder and director of Spark Skill, an educational startup offering coding, design, and maker summer camps for tweens and teens, a company McCue launched when he was 15.
Let’s get the inside scoop on their new book, KID Start-up: How You Can Be An Entrepreneur.
Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Shaan Patel: I did not know what an entrepreneur was when I was growing up. I wanted to be a doctor, and that’s it. I didn’t realize that you can be a physician entrepreneur. The goal of Kid Start-Up is to educate children that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path.
Ian McCue: I was always interested in developing new things, and thus I initially wanted to be an engineer. However, I realized in middle school that entrepreneurship is the best path for me to innovate. As your own boss, you can move quickly and take risks on new ventures that the corporate world does not traditionally pursue.
Mark Cuban: I didn’t even know the word when I was a kid. I just knew I wanted to run my own business. Back then, to me, that meant finding products and selling them, which is exactly what I did.
What are the most important personality traits and characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?
SP: To be hard working. As Mark says, “the one thing you can control is effort.” If you work harder than your competition, you have a much higher chance of succeeding.
IM: Flexibility, specifically when it comes to failure, is the most crucial personality trait in entrepreneurship. In starting a new business, there will be challenges, and things will rarely go entirely according to plan. A founder must be flexible and able to adapt to the obstacles that they face.
MC: All of them are equally important. It’s not like you can take one skill and forget the rest. Being successful in business is a process that requires lifelong earnings. If you start learning as a kid, you have a huge head start.
What is the number one reason that most startup companies fail? How can kid entrepreneurs overcome this obstacle?
SP: Giving up too early. Most businesses could achieve a certain level of success if they kept iterating their product/service until sales start to trickle in. Kid entrepreneurs can overcome this by working on their businesses for at least one year before calling it quits.
IM: Most startups fail because they never open; over-planning or failing to work productively on one’s business are the typical culprits of startup failure. Do not be afraid to fail –– just start!
MC: They don’t have sales; selling cures all business issues.
“The goal of Kid Start-Up is to educate children that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path in their future.”~ Shaan Patel
Based on your years of experience and expertise, what market have you noticed has the most room for growth?
SP: Artificial Intelligence. The world has never seen the machine decision-making before, and I think we are still just at the tip of the iceberg. Although robots and artificial intelligence will replace many jobs, there is an opportunity for many multi-million and even multi-billion dollar companies in this space.
IM: Artificially-intelligent software products have extraordinary growth potential. Businesses will increasingly automate mundane tasks and benefit from higher efficiency and accuracy. The providers of these software products tend to reinvest all of their revenues into product development and marketing, both of which perpetuate their successes.
MC: Personalized medicine, nanotechnology, and future tech.
Why should kids start a business, and what advice would you give them?
SP: You can be your own boss. I have never enjoyed working for someone else. Instead, I like setting my own rules and schedule. However, in the beginning, you will work more than your employees in order to build your business. But over time, you will work less than your employees. So my advice is to get started now, so you don’t have to work 80-hour weeks when you are older.
IM: Kids should start businesses because their experiences will be both fun and rewarding. The best advice that I can give is to start now! Incremental progress quickly adds up.
MC: Because it’s fun and it gives kids a sense of independence.
Cover photo Rawpixel/Unsplash