Turning a $1000 loan into a $66 million business and then fighting to become one of televisions most recognizable investors, that is nothing short of inspiring.
(Co-founder, Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, author, tv personality and Shark)
In 1973, Barbara Corcoran took a $1000 loan from her then boyfriend and the two of them founded The Corcoran Group. Barbara would go on to grow the real-estate company into one of New York’s most successful businesses before selling it for $66 million in 2001 to focus on her family.
One key to her success was realizing the importance of marketing and content early on. In the mid-1970s, she started publishing The Corcoran Report, which shared real estate statistics and data trends in New York City. Her brilliance, realizing that reporters needed stats for their stories and that by being a source, she could get press.
She was also great at marketing herself and was successful in generating multiple publicity stunts that helped put The Corcoran Group on the front of New York’s papers.
A bold and brash personality, Corcoran’s drive and ambition would eventually lead her to write several books, land spots on Good Morning America, the Today Show and CNBC’s The Big Idea.
But most people know Corcoran from her work on Shark Tank. As the story goes, Corcoran was on a short-list of successful female entrepreneurs trying out for the show. The following quote from a May 2015 Inc. article is how Corcoran fought to get the spot.
“When Mark Burnett Productions called in 2008 to see if Corcoran was interested in doing a not-yet-named reality-TV show on which she would give business advice and invest her own money, she said, “Hell, yes!” and sent financial statements to prove she had the money to play. After receiving a contract, she bought three new outfits at Bergdorf Goodman and started imagining herself signing autographs as a reality-TV star. Then Mark Burnett’s assistant called to say she did not get the job. “I was pissed,” she says. “I wrote an email to Burnett asking for an audition, and then I made his assistant promise that she would print out the email and make him read it.” Corcoran got the audition, of course–and the job. “Entrepreneurs succeed by being pushy, right?” she says. “I stood up for myself–and got rewarded.”
Today, Corcoran is invested in 15 businesses that appeared on Shark Tank. She continues to mentor and guide those entrepreneurs. Would I love most is that Corcoran’s investment strategy typically centers around good products that need better branding and marketing. I typically find myself agreeing with Corcoran when evaluating potential in the show’s contestants.
But, what I love the most is her no-nonsense personality on the show. Surrounded by a slew of ego-driven, male entrepreneurs, Corcoran holds her own. She calls them on their crap and plays the game as well as any of them. That’s what I find incredibly inspiring about Barbara Corcoran.
However, I think the following story shows exactly why Barbara Corcoran deserves a spot on this list.
Growing The Corcoran Group into a $66 million business from a $1000 loan, it is easy to say that she knows a little something about curb appeal and marketing. One of the things she did for their office was to setup planters with mums that became a Corcoran Group trademark. So last year when she was walking past the building she was a little shocked to see the planters she picked out with a sad set of flowers. Corcoran ordered new flowers and had then anonymously delivered to the company she sold in 2001.
That’s why Barbara Corcoran inspires me.