How to Win in Business

Mark Cuban, Daymond John and other 'Shark Tank' investors share 10 things you have to do to be successful

Collectively, the investors on "Shark Tank" have been through their share of hard times en route to success. They've gained valuable perspective on what's important and how to get ahead.

Here are lessons from the sharks on how to succeed.

1. Set goals for yourself

You have to set a goal. If you don't know where you are going, you will never get there, says Daymond John, the so-called People's Shark. John started with $40 worth of fabric that he turned into hats, which ultimately became Fubu, his $6 billion urban streetwear brand.

When John identified his goal, he became focused on achieving it. He called his mom and said: "I want to make a uniform for this culture. They are rapping, they are singing, but who is going to dress them all? I am going to dress them all!"

Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner.
Photo by Patrick Ecclesine
Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner.

2. Save when you're young

"The best thing college students can do right now is to stop spending their money," says Chris Sacca, a self-made billionaire, top Silicon Valley investor and repeat guest shark on the show.

"Being a cheap bastard now means so much more freedom and choices later," Sacca tells USA Today.

3. Look people directly in the eyes

Barbara Corcoran was a D-student and had 20 jobs before turning 23. She quit a position as a waitress and borrowed $1,000 to launch a real estate company that's since become a $5 billion real estate empire.

When you are assessing character, eye contact is key, she says. "Looking someone straight in the eye creates trust," Corcoran recently tweeted. "If someone's not looking you in the eye, believe me, you're not trusting them."

4. Love what you do

John's ascent was possible because of his deep passion for his work. "I loved what I was doing," he says, noting that every single successful person has that one trait in common.

5. Set your own schedule

Billionaire tech investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban uses email instead of in-person meetings or phone calls for everything that he possibly can. "No meetings or phone calls unless I'm picking up a check. Everything is email," Cuban tells Thrive Global.

From his perspective, email is a productivity tool. "Love it. Live on it. Saves me hours and hours every day," says Cuban, who is worth over $3 billion. "No meetings. No phone calls. All because of email. I set my schedule."

6. Believe in yourself

You will be as successful as you believe you can be, says Lori Greiner, a retail product inventor. She has made 400 products and is a star on QVC TV.

"You're only as good as you believe you are," she says. "Believe in yourself because you're the only one living in your shoes."

7. Protect yourself

You don't want to waste time fighting identity theft or a data breach. "People assume that they're exempt from the risks of cybersecurity," Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group, tells CNBC.

"Similarly, businesses assume it will never happen to them," he says. "It will! Cybersecurity risk is everywhere and no matter the size of your business, the data you process and ingest can be exploited for financial gain."

8. Be able to succinctly summarize your brand

You should always have ready a two- to five-word description of who you are and what you are doing with your life. "If you don't know what your two to five words are, then you walk in a room and you leave it up to us to interpret," says John. The thought process should always be, "Are you populating what your two to five words are?"

You should be consistently on brand whether you are soliciting funding, posting on Facebook or meeting new people. "Life is a series of pitches," he says. "You are always pitching."

9. Have fun!

If you are running a business, it will be more successful if you and your team are having fun, says Corcoran.

"Having fun is the most underutilized tool in business today," she says. "Fun builds teams, and teams build business."

10. Just keep going

"You either think like a shark or you don't," says John, who is no stranger to setbacks. "If you think that anything can hold you back, well, I am dyslexic. I am short. I got left back in school. I didn't go to college. I don't know anybody with a famous last name. I am not a relic of anybody with a famous last name." And yet, look where he is today.

John's success is due to his persistence, he says. In a nod to Dory in Disney's hit film "Finding Nemo," he adds, "You must keep swimming."