"Never be ashamed of who you are" and "A true American success story" flashed on the screen as Corcoran began her presentation to the tune of the theme song from Jaws, a humorous nod to her starring role as a judge on ABC's Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs vie for investors' money. "It's a fabulous act of the universe to actually be in business for yourself, having nobody tell you what to do," she said by way of greeting. "Congratulations for having the guts to run your own business."
Corcoran kicked off with a no-holds-barred rundown of highlights from her life, including the story of the boyfriend-turned-business partner who provided the seed money for a real estate business in Manhattan. Then, the New Jersey native with nine siblings offered five tips to success:
- Perception creates reality. "New York City is a competitive town," she said. "From day one I dreamed a picture of who I would be. I had an image. I discovered the keys to the magic kingdom." By billing herself as a real estate agent to the stars, she seized the city's imagination, along with sizeable publicity, cementing her reputation.
- There are two kinds of people: Expanders and Containers. Hire people who balance out your team. If you're unorganized, hire someone who can manage the business smartly.
- Shoot the dogs early. Corcoran ranked all of her salespeople, and the lowest-performers either improved or were fired. It's vital, she said, to quickly rid your business of underperforming salespeople or employees.
- Fun is good for business. "I created outrageous fun," she said, "instead of just boring Christmas parties." Her costume parties and picnics helped everyone in her office bond, creating a stronger team, while helping lure top people from her competitors.
- Be great at failure. With new hires, Corcoran watches for how soon they recover from failure and whether they indulge in pity parties. "Failing well" is a sign of strength.
"Barbara Corcoran was excellent – one of the best motivational speakers I've ever heard," said Dr. Kevin Chen of Business Methods Corporation (asi/152950). "Her take on image is very important – it's so important to show the right image to your customers."
Counselor spoke to Corcoran just before she went on stage at ASI New York to find out some more of her secrets to entrepreneurial success. Click here to watch the video interview.