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Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran: How This One Little Thing Got My Company Big Publicity

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Years before selling her real-estate company for $66 million, Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran found herself in a position some business owners know all too well: Hurtling toward bankruptcy and desperate for a solution.

The year was 1986. Corcoran was $360,000 in debt and had 18 salespeople on her books. One employee was particularly insistent that the company do more advertising. Corcoran didn’t want to hear it, but the conversation sparked an idea: She would get some publicity.

Corcoran quickly calculated the average sale price of the 11 property units The Corcoran Group had sold that year. She typed up a document with that single statistic and labeled it The Corcoran Report. In an admittedly naive move, she added a fancy tagline indicating the report covered “conditions and trends in the New York City housing market.” From there, she mailed it to every writer at The New York Times.

Related: What This Shark Tank Star Tells Herself When She Needs a Jolt of Confidence

A week later, the Times ran a story on New York City apartment prices hitting an all-time low. The first line? “According to Barbara Corcoran of The Corcoran Group.”

The ploy had been a success. “I’m like, ‘Holy sh*t!’” Corcoran said in a speech at Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference in Miami last month.

After that, she began publishing The Corcoran Report every six months and found that the press ate it up. And it worked both ways -- the media attention gave her business a much-needed boost. “If I’m quoted as the authority in my industry, everybody thinks I’m smart. And so that’s how I parlayed my brand into a very big brand with very little money -- because I was smart enough to publish statistics.”

Watch the video for more on how the power of the press helped Corcoran grow her business.

Related: How Barbara Corcoran Turned Her Ex-Boyfriend’s Insults Into Motivation to Succeed

Edition: December 2016

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