The Startup Handbook by Barbara Corcoran

When Barbara Corcoran was 23 years old, she had already worked in 20 different occupations and was now working as a waitress in the city of New York.

She had spent a significant amount of time working as a waitress in Manhattan before deciding to take the plunge, obtaining a loan for $1,000, and launching a company that was really meaningful to her. It was a real estate firm called The Corcoran Group that she established in 1973 and grew to a portfolio of $5 billion in the property. She began the company in 1973. She sold the firm in 2001 for a total cash payment of $66 million.

At the moment, she is participating in the popular television show “The Shark Tank,” which is shown on ABC. She has made investments in a number of companies and has become a partner in several of those enterprises on an equal basis. It is always a pleasure to listen to her brilliant ideas on business, partnerships, entrepreneurship, and the process of constructing an organization that will last the test of time whenever the program airs on television.

We made the decision to compile some of this powerhouse investor’s most useful guidance for business owners, despite the fact that there is undoubtedly more to come from her in the future. She is responsible for taking companies from being insignificant little startups to becoming national sensations. Not only will being familiar with these techniques help you learn and develop as a startup in today’s world, but it will also provide you insights from businesspeople who you otherwise would not have the opportunity to speak to.

1) Do not speak in jargon.

When you are making your pitch for business, it might be difficult to resist using some complicated phrases. However, there is a cost associated with it. If you do not communicate in a way that is simple, then a small number of people will comprehend what you are saying. In most cases, these will be individuals who work in the same field or specialize in the same area as you do.

It may not be a good idea to use a lot of jargon and complex phrases in your pitch depending on the audience you’re trying to attract to your cause. Barbara is happiest when she is able to invest in firms in which customers have no trouble comprehending what it is that the company does.

“Fancy talk doesn’t work. To be successful as a business owner, one must communicate clearly. ~ Barbara Corcoran

If you load the majority of your pitch with jargon, you have already eliminated around fifty percent of the potential customers in the market. The most effective “elevator pitches,” as they are now more often known, are typically simple to recall and can be understood by anybody, from the smallest children to the oldest individuals who may have lost some of their capacity to grasp the jargon.

To put it another way, if your grandma is unable to comprehend what it is that your business performs, then you have not simplified it sufficiently. We have examined the most effective methods for delivering a great elevator pitch, which you should think about looking into.

2) Satisfy a Previously Identified Want

Do not launch a company only for the purpose of gaining financial stability or expanding your company’s reach. Even on Shark Tank, the most successful businesses have been those that were launched by entrepreneurs who had a personal experience with the need of the product they were selling.

When I come across an entrepreneur that bases the creation of a company on their own personal experiences, I can nearly guarantee that the business will be successful. ~ Barbara Corcoran

When you run into this issue, there is a greater likelihood that you are not the only one who is dealing with it. You won’t have any trouble finding folks who have been through the same thing as you. It also enables you to experiment with the product before it is launched, so you can determine whether or not it meets your requirements. The testing, creating, and iterating are all done in a highly individualized manner. You should first ensure that it is successful for you on your own before attempting to sell it to other people. You are your first customer.

People who strive to produce items for a need of which they have not experienced a lack themselves do not have an experiential link to the company, and thus they cannot relate to the solution either, according to Barbara.

When you start a company without ever having a need for the product or service you will be offering, you won’t know for sure whether or not other individuals have a need for the answer you provide. It’s possible that everything is simply a notion in your brain that won’t work if you try to implement it in the real world.

3) Stand Out

When Barbara was in the process of developing her real estate firm, she came to the realization that if you do not distinguish yourself in some way, people would not take you seriously. As a result, she went out and purchased an expensive coat, which she wore whenever she met with potential customers or participated in marketing initiatives. The end consequence was that she seemed to be different at all times, and this was significant.

It would seem that entrepreneurs in the computer industry want to look identical to one another. They desire to seem normal or unremarkable. As a result, they dress in all black, donning hoodies over their dark t-shirts and baggy pants. Everyone has the same appearance. In addition, Barbara is certain that this is a poor approach for a company to take. First impressions are important, and in her opinion, even tech men need to step up their game when it comes to making a good one. Blending in with the crowd could be fun, but it won’t distinguish you from anybody else.

However, the fact that you are unique is what draws people’s attention to you. Some of the most successful firms that Barbara has invested in, the majority of which are non-tech enterprises, have been founded by individuals who have a personality that, to a considerable extent, is known before them. They make a concerted effort to stand apart. It might be something as simple as the way they talk, or as complex as how they appear and what they wear.

There’s also the possibility that it’s the product. If the product is so amazing that it sticks out, then even the person wearing the hoodie has a chance to be seen. People perceive the product to be unique, and as a result, everyone and everything shines out in connection to it.

Either your product stands out or you do in terms of your personality or image. Neither option is acceptable. When any of these things occur, then others will begin to realize the value in how uniquely you are positioned in the world.

4) Don’t Let Rejection Lead

She has been turned down so many times that if she had to keep track, she would have a million dollars by the time she was 25. Her rejections were inevitable, but they eventually went away. Even after picking herself up and trying again, she was rejected once again, but eventually, the feeling went away. And then rising once more, followed by an additional one. In conclusion, as she was constructing her real estate firm, she was turned down a significant number of times in comparison to the times she was approved. And despite this, she continued to be unyielding. The goal was more ambitious.

In the course of pursuing our entrepreneurial goals, we, like Barbara, will often come up against opposition. It could come from existing or prospective buyers or investors. It is possible that it will emerge from inside your very own team of workers at times. That should not deter you in any way.

Continue taking shots since the objective is still a long way out in the distance, and a lack of success does not make it impossible to attain. It only makes it more difficult and improbable, but it does not make it impossible.

“You have very little time to gather your thoughts and get back on your feet; else, the company would never come into existence.” It’s just like trying to deliver a baby. Just keep going, and you’ll have a company up and running before you know it. ~ Barbara Corcoran

It is important to refrain from letting the feelings that you experience in times of such disappointment influence the choices that you make for your organization.

5) Recognize the Influence of Positive Press

They say that all publicity is good publicity, but in this instance, we would want to concentrate on excellent publicity. Well, it is true that any publicity is good publicity. Because having positive PR is always preferable to having negative publicity.

Barbara required a miracle in order to propel the Corcoran Group to the next level of success when it reached a time in its history when its rate of expansion hit a plateau. At this period, the firm was still in its early stages and considered itself to be an upstart.

Barbara’s year ended with 11 apartment sales, and she was looking to expand her clientele. She created a report on the market using the information from these 11 transactions. Although there were not many apartments available, the averages and statistics revealed what was occurring in the New York real estate market at that time period. She made the decision to distribute this material to other blogs and media.

After another couple of hours had passed, the news was taken up by the New York Times. During that week, she was featured as the main article in the real estate section of one of the company’s publications. It provided her with a significant amount of credibility and served as her ticket to high-end clientele who were interested in either purchasing or selling property in and around the city.

If you want to establish a successful brand, having good press is like magic juice. Achieving one of the most important things possible, credibility is made easier by consistent mentions in the media. Customers will be attracted to your business when you have credibility because they will believe that you are an authority in your profession. Nobody is willing to entrust their financial well-being to those who are not specialists. Acquiring credibility comes at a high financial cost. As a founder, you do not have any other option than to get it.

“A significant public relations effort is only worth it if your message is received by the individuals who are most likely to purchase your goods. You need to find out where your prospective consumers are congregating so that you may steal them away from your competitors. ~ Barbara Corcoran

When we first conceived of Pressfarm, our goal was to assist new businesses in securing press coverage. Mentions in the media are essential to the survival of businesses, and new ventures that put in the effort to get them will be rewarded handsomely. While we do assist businesses in making contact with journalists for publication, we came to the conclusion early on that our followers have become a key cog in the machine that is our company.

As we worked to produce more material and as the number of people who read our blog increased, we decided to launch a series of interviews in which we would publish in-depth stories on businesses that had signed up to use Pressfarm. We were able to generate more than 300 sign-ups in only the first week after releasing this feature piece on the blog of our firm after it was featured in one of the most recent ones, which was about a startup called Research Planet.

We did an incredible job of transferring the reputation that our clients have established with us to this new business. All of this goes to show that obtaining positive news mentions is just as important to business success as other factors such as marketing, sales, recruiting, etc.

6) Put Unfavorable News in Perspective

Do you have some troubling information that you need to relay to your company’s customers, investors, or employees? Do not simply blast it out. The accretion of points is essential. Barbara believes that in order to get unpleasant news, there must first be a circumstance that led up to it. It is essential to understand what led to what and how you arrived at your destination.

For example, if you decide to raise the price of your product, this may be considered excellent news for the firm and the investors in it, but it would be considered terrible news for the consumers. Because of this, it is essential that you provide an explanation as to why you are acting in this manner. The causes might vary from a growing need for more powerful resources to improve the overall experience of the consumer to shifts in the industry as a whole. In order to construct a comprehension of this unfortunate piece of information, you will need to provide some background first.

This is not just relevant for situations in which you must inform other people about unfavorable developments. It is also applicable in situations when the firm is dealing with upsetting news or is seeing a decline in its consumer base. It is imperative that you figure out why you are losing consumers. The next step is to identify the specific source of the issue and state it in the form “we are now failing because of A B C.” By doing so, you will be able to place the issue inside its appropriate setting, and from there, both you and the team will be able to work toward fixing the situation. If you merely claim “we are failing” without putting things in the appropriate context, you will make poor judgments or even leave from sweeping assertions that should have been investigated deeper. This may lead to a chain of unfortunate events.

7) Learn to delegate, and concentrate on your best qualities

Tim Ferris’s theory of the “4-Hour Work Week” is founded, in large part, on the idea that a delegation is a powerful tool. You simply cannot afford to do everything at your firm if you are the founders. In the beginning, when there is not much to do and the customers are few and far between, you will be able to handle everything since there is not much to do.

However, as the firm expands, you will need to begin recruiting more employees. When you hire people, you free yourself up to concentrate on the aspects of the company in which you excel and are most required. When Barbara saw that her firm was growing, she decided to hand over the sales aspect of the company to someone else and focus on other aspects of the business.

First and foremost, despite the fact that she was successful in selling a batch of 88 houses that people didn’t like, she did not love that aspect of the company. Second, she believed that it would be more beneficial for her to spend her time expanding the portfolio of the firm by bringing in other customers rather than selling the properties of the clients who were already on board.

If you and a prospective employee have good chemistry, the person is more likely to turn out to be a valuable member of your team. ~ Barbara Corcoran

She was able to properly delegate tasks, and properties were sold as a result. She established a winning team, and she removed employees quickly if they didn’t perform as promised. In addition to that, she was able to concentrate on expanding the number of homes in her portfolio and promoting her business.

It is more important to become skilled at terminating employees than it is to hire new ones while establishing a company. ~ Barbara Corcoran

Do not attempt to grow beyond your current capabilities. Explore that quality in more depth and put it to good use. The founders of a company need to educate themselves on the various recruiting tactics that will allow them to establish stronger teams. They need to be aware that workers are the driving force behind the expansion of the firm to greater heights.

8) People Skills are of the Utmost Importance

You have to understand the significance of having abilities to deal with people unless your target market is animals, in which case you may ignore this point. Even if you were selling items derived from animals, you would still need to discuss the matter with the person responsible for the animal’s care. The majority of everything in life, including business, revolves around people. And adequate people skills are important.

You just need to know how to interact with other people, because ultimately, that’s what running a company comes down to. My capacity to work with the individuals that are available will determine the success or failure of the endeavor. ~ Barbara Corcoran

If you are the creator of a company, there is a chance that you are an introvert and that interacting with other people is difficult for you. That shouldn’t be an issue for anybody. When it comes down to it, some of the most successful businesses were established by entrepreneurs who were quite introverted because of their exceptional capacity for concentration. However, they acquired co-founders who are the complete antithesis of each other. These individuals had excellent people skills and served as the public face of the firm. If you are searching for a co-founder, you should make sure that they have strengths that complement your own. If your social skills are lacking, it is imperative that they have strong ones.

9) Find an Advantage for Your Brand

How do individuals get familiar with your brand? Barbara is of the opinion that they need to affix some kind of visual representation to you. Grace & Lace was one of the companies she invested in on the show Shark Tank. It was owned by a woman who promoted her clothing line by posting stunning images of herself on the company’s website. She would make these garments, then take stunning photographs of herself wearing them, which she would then save on Pinterest. She had sales of $800,000 previous to appearing on Shark Tank, and thereafter, she earned millions of dollars. The fact that her firm was made famous by the images, which provided her an advantage in terms of branding, is of critical importance.

Another example of this would be the social media scheduling tool known as Buffer. This software made use of extended blog posts that were packed with so much information that they often went viral. Because of the blog articles that were produced by the firm’s founders, the user base of the company increased to millions.

Barbara is certain that a new venture has to have a competitive advantage in terms of branding. The distinguishing factor for a brand might be anything, from compelling photos and compelling stories to the excellent personality and charisma of the company’s creator. However, it must be present at that location.

10) Not Every Potential Outcome Is Favorable

When you establish your company, you may expect to get communications from a variety of parties offering various types of assistance, including collaboration opportunities and assistance with marketing. You, as a creator, have to have the awareness that regardless of the kind of company you run, not every offer will be beneficial to you.

It is necessary to have the ability to judge whether it is appropriate to accept or decline an opportunity. Some possibilities have the potential to catapult your firm to the next level of development, while others have the potential to hinder that progress or even cause it to collapse.

There is a possibility that other chances may distract you and cause you to lose money or attention. Barbara is quite adamant about maintaining her concentration. Establish the objective, and do not take your eyes off it. Do not let yourself be sidetracked by other prospects that could seem appealing at first but might wind up being disastrous for your company in the long run.

11) The Launch Window is a Very Important Aspect

Have you ever started your company at the wrong moment or in the wrong place? Have you ever considered starting a fashion firm just after Christmas, perhaps around the middle of January? To tell you the truth, that would be a magnificent catastrophe.

It is in your best interest not to be the creator of the company who has a poor perspective on time, as this will cost you a significant amount of money, plus additional funds.

Barbara will tell you that time is everything when it comes to the launch of your company. You simply cannot afford to throw away successive months’ worth of hard work because the launch date was chosen incorrectly. Discover via analysis of market trends how the sector is developing; avoid launching either too late or too early.

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