Advice on service business success with Mark Cuban - Housecall Pro

Advice on service business success with Mark Cuban

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April 21, 2020 quick update

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting that globally, we are at over 2.5 million cases and 175,000 deaths. truly a staggering number.

 Here in the US we have reached more than 800,000 cases and over 43,000 people have perished 


  • India continues to see elevated COVID-19 cases, despite a nationwide “lockdown”. Pakistan is showing a concerning acceleration as well
  • In contrast, Austria, who had backed off of some social distancing measures recently, has reported that new cases have been remaining at a low level, despite reopening some businesses, which is extremely good news.
  • Iran this week opened some “medium-risk” businesses like bazaars and markets. 
  • Spain and Italy both continued their decline in daily new cases. And Spain announced that the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona has been cancelled.
  • Munich Germany also cancelled its annual Oktoberfest celebration


Back at home, here in the US yesterday, New York state reported its lowest daily incidence since March 20th. This is the state’s fifth consecutive day of declining case counts. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the United States appears to be showing a slight decline in daily new cases. Current cases have been in the 25-26,000 per day range, compared to 27-28,000 per day in previous weeks – certainly a welcome sign.


We’re starting to see some states opening up a bit as well. The governors of GeorgiaSouth CarolinaTennessee, and Texas all announced changes and some businesses were allowed to reopen. 

Yes, each state is taking a different approach, but all acknowledge that the efforts are designed to provide a balance between economic relief and minimizing the risk of infection.  


The big news today is that Congress thankfully is on the verge of passing a new $480 billion dollar stimulus deal

– It was approved by the Senate just hours ago.

$310 billion dollars is authorized for the Paycheck Protection Program, that’s the loan program run directly through lenders and specifically designed to help small employers fund payroll costs. $60 billion of that will be set aside for smaller lending facilities.

There will also be $10 billion for grants under the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (the EIDL) and $50 billion for disaster recovery loans, which are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Many of you have applied for one or both of these programs, – as we have been talking about them near-nightly and walking you through the application process for the past few weeks. I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing lots of celebrations in our Facebook group – many of you have been receiving funds but we know that there are still a lot of you waiting. If you haven’t applied, this bill is expected to pass the House later this week and be signed by the President, so hang in there and make sure that your bank is ready to submit your application for the PPP. And if you’re applying for the EIDL, remember that you can do that directly at once more funds are appropriated.

Mark Cuban on success, leadership, and the small business economy

Mark Cuban – entrepreneur and investor, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and one of the main sharks on ABC’s shark tank to our show. He’s here to talk about success, leadership and saving the small business economy. Brooks, Roland, Mark – over to you.

Key takeaways and quotes from Mark Cuban

  • Get through your email inbox or your voicemails each day
  • Have a Learning Mindset and don’t stop learning
  • It’s all about the grind- just do it
  • Things will go bad and will not go your way…Don’t get mad about it. 
  • Leadership means bad news is coming but it’s how you anticipate and handle it and turn bad news into good news
  • Trust is built when you take bad situations and turn them into good situations
  • Be honest and authentic with yourself, your employees, and your customers
  • Be clear with your communication and messaging to customers of why they need you and your services during this time
  • When the economy opens back up it will be a rush so do you have the tools, systems, and processes in place to handle that rush? You need technology to help with this.
  • There are two types of employees, those that cause stress and those that reduce stress. When you find the good ones that reduce stress you have to keep them. Give them equity and let them share in the upside so that they have ownership in your success.
  • The American Dream is still alive and well and entrepreneurship and innovation will get us through this and in a better spot
  • Now is not the time to sit around, it’s the time to act so that when you come out on the other side, you’re more efficient, more productive, and more ready to go. 

Interview transcript

BROOKS: You made a Billion+ in 1999, you famously buy yourself a basketball team and you’ve been a tireless investor in start-ups (and SMBs) through Shark Tank. You are a family man and you invest in your community. That’s a lot of success, so what’s your superpower? What’s the secret to your success?

MARK: No secret. I just grind and I tried to learn, I tried to be a learner. I try to keep on reading while I’m drinking that beer. I keep on going through those emails. That’s why I try to respond to all the emails because I learn so much. And to me being excited about learning and learning how to learn no matter what industry you’re in is key. 

BROOKS: Given your story career, can you think of one or two examples where you had to deal with adversity and you overcame it and what got you there?

MARK: Things aren’t going to go your way. Things break just when you think you’ve got your software written, there’s a book you can try to extend. You could try to say it’s a feature, but it’s still a bug when you do that HVAC and all of a sudden. That’s just the nature of every single business, and leadership means that you know bad news is coming. It’s just a question of anticipating and how you’re going to deal with it and calming everybody and let them know this is what we do. If there was no bad news, there’d be no reason for anybody to hire us. And that’s our job to take bad news and turn it into good news because when we walk out of there, you know, we feel better about it.

BROOKS: Let’s switch gears, If you were having a beer with Doe’s Family HVAC and Plumbing, what would you want to say to him? What do you think John Doe needs to hear right now? 

MARK: The first thing is you have to be honest and authentic. This is uncertainty for all of us. Tell customers: I’m here to listen and I’m here to help. As we start to go through this, who knows what’s going to happen.

If you don’t have the right HVAC providers then they’re not going to trust the air that’s circulating. And you can honestly tell them that if something bad comes through the air here, we’re going to filter it out. You’ve got to be able to give them confidence so they can give their customers or their family confidence. That’s a unique service only an HVAC provider can provide and there’s nobody walking in that store, whether it’s retail, restaurant, bowling alley, whatever unless that air is filtered and circulated and those air conditioning and all those units are working correctly.

You gotta be authentic and not to sugarcoat. You’ve got to be really honest and it’s okay to say you’re concerned as well because you’ll have that connection and that that honesty will build a lot of points when it comes time to them making whatever decisions they have to make when they open up. Business is going to be less than when it was before and people are going to be really concerned about costs and effectiveness and service. 

ROLAND: What value do you see technology bringing to the home service industry particularly for the professionals and their businesses during these times? (do you think your answer will change or will stick, post pandemic?)

MARK: Technology is going to be critically important on all sides. First of all, there’s going to need to be protocols on what is required for each different type of business that your pros are servicing. Most importantly from your perspective, from the pro’s perspective, you’ve got to be able to have guidelines and easy to use systems to make sure that when you’re in the heat of the moment and you’re working with all your customers, you have all your bases covered.

You know, when things open back up, it’s going to be a rush, right? So it’s not going to be like a normal course of business where you’ve got, you know, one or two or three, whatever your normal number of calls is, it’s going to be 10 X that on one day. And if you don’t have the right system in place to be able to manage that and to be able to do follow ups and call in and return calls and you know, all the nuance things that you need, trying to do that manually would be ridiculous. Trying to scale and keep up with smaller systems or homegrown systems is going to be ridiculous, but you guys have so much depth, and you’re going to need those systems in place. And I think what you’ll have to add is the protocol that each new business is going to need so that.

ROLAND: You reference America 2.0 and as we take a look at what’s happening, obviously it’s going to be a big change. You’ve talked a lot about employee ownership and is this a time when these businesses should start thinking about the employees that they currently have that are maybe on an hourly, how do they transform their businesses? Something that maybe becomes more equitable or they have some sort of ownership or maybe profit sharing. And is this something that small businesses should start thinking about and in times like these to help close, close that gap or is it just a big company kind of a thing or VC backed startup thing? 

MARK: I’m a big believer, every single company I’ve ever had, I’ve given stock to the employees because I want them to see the vision. I want them to buy-in individually and want them to know when they bust their ass. We’re side by side. I’ll never ask an employee to do a job that I won’t do myself. And knowing that they have equity or profit sharing of some sort, it gives me confidence that they’re all in with me and gives them confidence that when they put in that extra time, when they go the extra mile, if I make money, they make money.

When you’re getting paid by the hour, you can never catch up. Unless you have something that can appreciate and value, you’re always playing catch up. You want your employees, particularly since you know your pros deal with such a skill based environment, when you’ve got somebody who’s good, you need to keep them. When they own shares, the stock in your company, no matter how you structure it, they have to think twice if someone else is trying to compete with you and trying to pay them more. 

There are two types of employees, those who cause stress and those who reduce stress. When you find the right people that reduce your stress, those are the people you just got a keep cause they’re just as important to the company as you are. And that’s the thing you learn as a leader. And that’s the thing you learn. You want to keep your stress reducers and giving employees equity and letting them share in the upside always is important. 

ROLAND: What do you think is different about America and the trades compared to the rest of the world and what good do you think is going to come out of this pandemic?

MARK: The one thing that is incredible about this country is we’re the one country in the world that’s built on entrepreneurship. We thrive on innovation. We thrive on effort and thrive on just going out there and starting businesses left and right.

Even though this is hell right now, we will get to the other side, but we’ll learn along along the way when we get there, all those pros, you have all of those entrepreneurs, all those people who put all of their blood, sweat and tears, they know what it’s like to have to push the business forward. They’re going to innovate. They’re going to come up with new ideas. They’re going to tell you things. We evolve, we adapt, and that is the opportunity that we have. That’s what makes us different.

ROLAND: Now’s the time to build. Now’s the time to build and now’s the time to hustle because other people are sitting around. You’re going to be the one that’s going to find yourself ahead. 

MARK: All your pros out there know that there are good times. Now is the time to do it so that when you come out on the other side, you’re more efficient, more productive, and more ready to go. 

ROLAND: I always tell our viewers and Pros you don’t get what you don’t ask for, who is somebody you think we should have on the show and give valuable advice like you just did and can you introduce us?

MARK: Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank. Yep. Barbara Corcoran has the best people skills that I’ve ever seen. And because she’s in the real estate business, she understands exactly what you guys do.

Questions from the audience

In a scenario like this, do you recommend relying more on gut or data for internal investment in business decisions? 

MARK: First of all, because it’s an external threat that we don’t really understand. You’re working with imperfect data. We don’t know when this virus is going to be over. And so I would tell you the number one skill is being agile. When we get to the other side, then I start using data. I want to know what’s right in front of me because now we’re on the other side, but there’s so much in perfect information.

What changes would you make personally or professional if you were a home service business to take advantage of this type of economy?

MARK: Depends what city I’m in, depends on what services I’m offering, but I look to see which companies that are my potential customer base are doing well. Number two, I’m redoing all my marketing material and being flexible and all my social media and everything because it’s going to be a little different on the other side. Number three, I’m putting together a punch list across my customer base. Once we get on the other side of this, one of the things they need to do to get open and what are the services I can sell to them to help them get open. And part two, part B to that is to keep them open too once they’re open.

I might be, you know, a plumber right now, but I see this business needs helping them to go subcontract for them. And I’ve got lots of people that are ready to work. Let’s go take up that work. People work for them. And that’s a great one. Just, just look out there. You’re getting paid to learn and network and can lead to business for you. 

What is the one thing you’d be better at tomorrow than you are today?

MARK: Technology is next and because it’s new technology, I don’t know anything about it, right? I’m right where everybody is. And so I look at artificial intelligence as being one of the next big things, that, and robotics. The one thing I can control is trying to get knowledge that puts me ahead. And if there’s something that I visualized that gives me a competitive advantage, that’s directly where I’m going. Because everybody talks about AI and robotics, but very few people truly understand how they work. And I need to have a meter for when I’m looking at investments and when I’m helping my companies. And that’s where I’m at.

Legal disclaimer

Housecall Pro is offering the Coronavirus Evening Update for Home Service Businesses for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Housecall Pro is not offering advisory services or otherwise advising or representing any members of the group invited to participate.  Housecall Pro is not offering legal, medical or other professional advice in the Coronavirus Evening Update and makes no representations or warranties regarding the content of the Coronavirus Evening Update.  Participants should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.

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Solutions for your business Whether you need to improve dispatching, reduce paperwork, increase workforce or grow revenue, we have a solution.