In Business and Life, You Are What You Think: An Interview With Barbara Corcoran

By Randi Zuckerberg

March 28, 2017 5 min read

As a businesswoman and investor myself, I have always looked up to Barbara Corcoran. She touts her gut as her No. 1 decision-maker and never shies away from the boardroom — a perfect recipe for success.

That's why I support Barbara Corcoran's work.

Barbara Corcoran's credentials include straight D's in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. Her next job made her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. Her newest book, "Shark Tales," takes you behind the scenes of her life and business and her 'seen on TV' venture capitalism.

1) How has your childhood molded you into the person you are today?

I was a terrible student in school and couldn't learn to read or write until I was in sixth grade. I was labeled "stupid." My mother was raising me with my other nine siblings in a two-bedroom home! She was positive in every way. She convinced me I was brilliant and that I had a wonderful imagination and with it I would learn to fill in all the blanks. Being part of a big family made me a team player but it also made me fiercely competitive. If you come out of a household accustomed to competing, it makes the transition into building a business an easy one. Whenever I knew someone was after my turf, or more talented, my gears really got going. I would overprepare, practice, think of every angle and what might go wrong, and in most situations I would win.

2) Why is a positive attitude in business so crucial?

In business and in life you always wind up becoming exactly what you think. From the first day in business, I dreamed I'd become the queen of New York City real estate, and 10 years later I was.

After I sold The Corcoran Group, I went into the TV business as a real estate expert and fully expected myself to succeed. I pictured myself on the various talk shows and being invited back. That led to "Shark Tank" and a whole new career in business. Here's the rub: Keeping a positive attitude allows you to put tremendous hard work behind your dreams because you're a believer. It's actually the hard work that makes the dreams come true.

3) When did you realize that trusting your gut was your best guide?

I've usually trusted my gut, and when I don't I'm regretful. One of my earliest gut decisions was choosing Esther Kaplan as my real estate business partner. I made that choice based on the meticulous purse she held in her hand that was actually divided into categories with tabs. I had never seen anything like it. Esther became my partner and ran all of our business's operations as meticulously as she kept her purse.

4) You've been known to tout your feminine wiles to gain a competitive advantage. Is all fair in sales and business?

All business is sales, and you're smart if you use what you got. When I was building my business, I competed in a world occupied by men in navy blue and grey suits so I wore red suits and short skirts to be noticed when I walked into a room. People noticed me, so in turn they noticed my brand! But more importantly, you need brains to keep in business. You have to be honest to get ahead, then people to want to follow you.

5) What are some of your favorite pitches from "Shark Tank" and why?

I have a lot of favorites pitches! Early on I invested in Pork Barrel BBQ Sauce because the two partners were great salesmen and one had the huge marketing advantage of looking like an adorable pig.

I love my Daisy Cakes business because Kim had only sold 30 cakes a month when I met her but now we're exceeding $5 million in sales. Her cakes were the most delicious cakes I had ever tasted, and I snatched the deal from under the other Sharks' noses because they were too busy eating.

Grace and Lace is the most profitable business I have because they make a great line of women's knitwear, which sells like hot cakes. When they were on set I could see that the two partners, Melissa and Rick, were equally good at business with opposite skill sets so I bought in. They've now exceeded $20 million in sales.

I love my two partners at Cousins Maine Lobster because they are smart, charming and good-looking! They not only make me money but they constantly make me smile.

Randi Zuckerberg is the founder of Zuckerberg Media, a best-selling author and the host of a weekly business show on SiriusXM, "Dot Complicated." To find out more about Randi Zuckerberg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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