Barbara Corcoran has seen more than her share of new entrepreneurs as an investor on Shark Tank. According to an interview she gave to the Associated Press this week, she’s also been witness to the many pitfalls of small business ownership: not the least of which is sudden success:
“They’re discovered overnight, they get tremendous orders… I have a routine, actually, with my companies. I call [and] tell them how unimportant they are, just to keep their head on their shoulders.”
Corcoran therefore cites “vanity” as a common mistake of those with a suddenly successful business. Not, however, an unwillingness to follow advice. On the contrary, Corcoran says entrepreneurs should seek counsel, listen, and then disregard it. She told AP:
“My worst entrepreneurs listen to everything I say and do it that way. My best entrepreneurs listen to me and do as they please.”
Corcoran does not always have patience for the Shark Tank pitchers who come in boasting about business degrees and lacking real-world experience. She told The Washington Post this “fancy talk” — throwing around lingo she doesn’t know — causes her to tune out of a pitch:
“They’re too know-it-all, and nothing happens the way you planned when you get out in the real world.”
Barbara sold The Corcoran Group in 2001 for $66 million. Since then, she’s remade herself as a television personality, sought-after real estate expert and mentor to entrepreneurs. She calls making the transition her greatest challenge:
“I was convinced I had sold my golden goose. It took me probably four years to realize I was the golden goose. I could lay another egg, but I couldn’t see it then.”
The value of learning from the school of hard knocks is a consistent theme for Corcoran. When asked to name her favorite entrepreneur in whom she’s invested through Shark Tank, she denies playing favorites — save a tongue-in-cheek nod to Cousins Maine Lobster, because they are young men who flirt with her and airbrush her photographs.
She has sincere praise for Kim Nelson of Daisy Cake, who got an investment from Corcoran through Shark Tank and has since experienced the ups and downs of company ownership. Said Corcoran: “[S]he grew quickly, overextended, got into a lot of financial trouble and then rose again from the dead. It’s very hard to come back out of the grave, and she did it.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, not all pitches that end with a handshake on television survive the due diligence process after the show, and sometimes deals never close. Corcoran, as an example, agreed on-air to invest in Wild Squirrel Nut Butter, now called Wild Friends Nut Butter, run by two college students, but the deal later fell through.
Barbara Corcoran will be back on Shark Tank this fall on ABC.