Q&A with Barbara Corcoran

By ABC.com Jul 25, 2013


What is the best investment you have made to date on Shark Tank ?
The best investment that I have made on Shark Tank is Daisy Cakes. In just two short years Kim Daisy has built an established brand on pace to have 1.5 million in sales this year. She has enormous charisma & drive that translates into great salesmanship – the key to any great business.

Have there been any deals that you had wish that you made in hindsight?
Yes. I didn't bid on a company that rents wedding dresses online. The entrepreneur was terrific but I didn't believe women would be quick to rent a wedding dress. I was wrong. She has gone on to grow a big business.

Any investment that you wish you hadn't made?
Sure, a few. But I have forgotten them & moved on.

Any service/product that you wish you had invented yourself?
No, I'm not an inventor. I am a brand builder & people builder.

Is there anything that has surprised you over the season in terms of the pitches?
Yes. I'm still scratching my head over the fantastic claims entrepreneurs make on set. Like, the engineer & Rhodes scholar who claimed he could turn sea water into pure gold if only we would give him the million dollars to build his water tower. Or the dentist with a toothpaste that puts you to sleep. Or the lady with the lipstick that makes you lose weight. We hear them all on Shark Tank.

Is it possible that someone can have a great idea, but fail in the tank because they can't pitch?
Absolutely! If the entrepreneur can't answer the Sharks' basic questions about their own company then it's always a deal breaker even when the business may be the greatest idea. The entrepreneur is more important than the idea, and if they can't sell their business idea – no matter how good it is, it is destined to fail.

What's your best advice on how to pitch?

Over prepare, and practice, practice, practice. You've got to know your numbers well and have enormous energy in the pitch and passion for your product. One of the best pitches I have seen came from Cousins Maine Lobster – a company I invested in. They had every answer, but more importantly I could tell that they had a real passion for their company. Once we were in business together they said that they had watched every episode of Shark Tank and listed every question ever asked. They prepared three answers for every question and practiced together for three months in anticipation of the show. Clearly, they got my money and are enormously successful.

Do you have to be memorable to make a good pitch?
One of the first things that goes through my mind when an entrepreneur is pitching on set is, "how will they play on TV? Will people watching like them at home? Are they enough of a character to stick in peoples' mind?" It is very important to be memorable, but it is only one part of putting together a good pitch.

What's the most important lesson an entrepreneur can learn by watching what goes down in the Tank?
To build a business you have to be able to sell your idea. Beginners' passion is not enough. You have to be able to present your idea or business as simply irresistible and back up your claims with real numbers that make common sense.

What's been the most memorable part of being on the show for you?
I love the updates because we all learn the end to a good story. Some people get the cash and flop, and others become millionaires.