I recently caught up with Barbara Corcoran to speak to her about her experiences on “Beyond The Tank”, which follows up on the aspiring entrepreneurs who made business presentations to her, and her fellow investors, on ABC’s hit show ”Shark Tank.” She also talks about why entrepreneurs still make the same mistakes, how her network of entrepreneurs has supported each other, and the biggest lesson she’s learning on the show.
Corcoran became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business and sold it in 2001 for $66 million. Barbara is the real estate contributor for NBC’s TODAY Show where she comments weekly on trends in the real estate market.
As one of the “Sharks” on ABC’s hit TV show, Shark Tank, Corcoran has invested in multiple businesses, competing to make those deals for all to see, then shepherding them to success. She is also the author of Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business. Famously brash and blunt, bold and courageous, Corcoran is a brilliant identifier of opportunity and talent that is often invisible to others. She is a highly sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, and branding.
Dan Schawbel: Why do entrepreneurs still make the same mistakes on the show even though there’s already been six seasons?
Barbara Corcoran: Entrepreneurs fall madly in love with their ideas. Once they’re in love, they can’t see, can’t listen, and they don’t learn a thing. We see the same mistake again and again on Shark Tank.
Schawbel: What are you most looking forward to about “Beyond the Tank”? How is the show constructed and which of your companies are going to be profiled on it?
Corcoran: Beginning is the easy part of building a business, and once you’re on Shark Tank it’s like having the fairy godmother whack you with her magic stick and everything starts out easier. But Beyond the Tank gets to the guts of building something out of nothing. It’s the real deal with real struggle and it teaches a lot more than Shark Tank can. So far, every one of my most successful entrepreneurs are being profiled, including… Ry’s Ruffery, Cousins Maine Lobster, The COOP, Frill Clothing, and Q Flex—all with real struggles and challenges played out on the show.
Schawbel: All the companies you invest in have become your family. Can you share a story about how one company has helped another company with a business challenge in your family?
Corcoran: All of my entrepreneurs like each other because I always choose partners who are nice. I also pick entrepreneurs who are super competitive with a huge drive to win. So I throw them all together on a ski or beach getaway, which we do all the time, and they play together and become real friends—that’s a family. But they all want to do better and build their business faster than the next guy, so they all compete. Cousins Maine Lobster helps Daisy Cakes save on her shipping costs, Grace and Lace shows Cousin’s how to drive their social media to build sales, Scratch and Grain brings Grace and Lace to their trade show, Villy’s Custom Bikes takes everyone to his convention gigs as experts and speakers. Everyone plans, everyone helps and competes, and everybody wins! But it all starts with fun.
Schawbel: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from another shark on the show?
Corcoran: Mark Cuban is the smartest and I’ve learned a lot from him. Once he said, “I don’t invest in tech companies not run by a tech guy.” That alone has saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars in mistakes.
Schawbel: Aside from Shark Tank, what other projects do you currently have going on?
Corcoran: I just bought a $10 million dollar dump to live in. That should keep me busy fixing it up.
This article was written by Dan Schawbel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.