‘Shark Tank:’ Barbara Corcoran Shares What Her Most Successful Entrepreneurs Did Before Appearing on the Show

Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran has been on the ABC reality show since its premiere in 2009. Sitting on the panel alongside Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary for 11 seasons, the real estate mogul has learned what to look for in a winning partner.

Corcoran recently shared some specifics on how her top business owners prepped before entering the Tank.

Barbara Corcoran  attends the Tribeca Talks Panel: 10 Years Of "Shark Tank"
Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Corcoran hones in on the business owner rather than the business itself

Since Corcoran is one of the show’s original panelists, she’s learned that the success of a company relies on its owner more than what they’re selling.

“I don’t really care what the business is of the individual who’s pitching on Shark Tank,” she told Kit Hoover of Access Hollywood. “What I’m shopping for is the entrepreneur… I say that is because I’ve been investing on Shark Tank for 11 years and every time I was swayed by the entrepreneur and thought that they were capable and would be very good at coming through bad times and they’re fast on their feet, all the attributes of good entrepreneurs, I’ve made money on every one of those deals.”

After after countless deals on Shark Tank, Corcoran has discovered that she does best when she focuses on the pitcher rather than the product.

“Every time I invested in the business concept – ‘oh that’s cool’ or ‘that’s a neat product’ – and they didn’t have a phenomenal entrepreneur, I’ve lost my money,” she revealed. “So I try to turn a deaf ear honestly to the business itself. But I’m hyper attentive to the entrepreneur, trying to size them up and get myself a great partner.”

What to do before entering the Tank

When Hoover asked the Shark Tank investor what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Corcoran immediately recommended going on the ABC hit show.

“They should be going on Shark Tank to pitch of course, because that gives them a wonderful platform,” Corcoran explained. “They’re going to have tremendous sales on Shark Tank night when it airs so right away you’re ahead of the game.”

The real estate icon went on to share a tip that all of her successful business owners have done before walking out onto the infamous red carpet.

“You should do what every smart entrepreneur I’ve invested in to date has done,” Corcoran said. “Watch every episode of Shark Tank. Write a list of every question any Shark has ever asked and then role play with someone who doesn’t like you so that they’re not going to buy in so fast and just answer every one of those questions.”

Corcoran emphasized the importance of this type of practice which she noted can be used for all important areas in life. “Every time I had a phenomenal entrepreneur after I closed the deal they told me they did that. It’s called over-preparation,” she revealed. “The great winners in life over-prepare for everything. They don’t take anything for granted.”

Corcoran on the deals that swim away

When asked if there were any specific deals that Corcoran regretted not reeling in, the millionaire investor shared that she’s lost out on quite a few opportunities in the Tank.

“There have been so many businesses that have gotten away where I have been overbid, or they just liked the other Shark better,” she said, jokingly adding, “I don’t understand why.”

Despite some entrepreneurs deciding to swim with another Shark or leave the Tank empty-handed, Corcoran says there will always be another opportunity around the corner.

“I have to tell you the door opens so fast and we see so many businesses on Shark Tank,” she revealed. “The minute they’re out of the set, we’re like ‘Next!”

Watch ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday nights!