4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Excel by Engaging a Mentor

9 Jul 2024

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Excel by Engaging a Mentor

If you were to survey the public on the greatest investor of all time, it’s safe to assume Warren Buffett would be a nearly unanimous choice. The prolific investor is a household name and seems to have blazed a trail of his own. Yet, even with his contrarian views and refreshingly authentic takes, Buffett credits his mentor for much of what he has accomplished. 

A lesser-known name than Warren Buffett is Benjamin Graham. Though he is credited as being the “father of value investing,” unless you are an investment professional or a well-educated lay investor, you likely have never heard the name. But it is Graham who mentored Buffett, helping shape his philosophy and views. 

With that said, if the greatest of all time had a mentor, every entrepreneur should consider having a mentor. Regardless of how talented and adept a business owner is, there is always information to be gleaned from a mentorship relationship.

4 Ways to Excel by Engaging a Mentor 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African Proverb 

As an entrepreneur, you don’t need to just go fast; you need to go far. Consider engaging a mentor to improve your chances of success. 

1) Expertise and Experience 

Though it may seem obvious, entrepreneurs can overlook the benefits of engaging a more tenured business owner and learning from their experiences. You’re running a business, so it goes without saying you’re successful in your own right. But as the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Even if you are the most brilliant business owner in the world, you still lack the experiential knowledge that others possess. 

For example, let’s say you own a concrete company and are preparing to open a second location 200 miles away from your current one. You may have the business plan, the funding, and the operational knowledge to make it work, but have you managed employees remotely from 200 miles away before? What kind of accountability system will you have? In this type of scenario, a mentor who has been in the trenches – with the scrapes and bumps to prove it – can provide invaluable insights from their similar experiences. Learning the do’s and don’ts from someone else’s successes and failures is a much faster (and often less costly) way to learn. 

2) Expanding Networks 

The adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know” holds especially true in the world of entrepreneurship. Engaging with a mentor not only opens the door to their personal wealth of knowledge and experience but also to their extensive professional network. A well-connected mentor can introduce you to industry leaders, potential partners, future clients, and even investors who might be out of reach otherwise. Having a warm “in” can give you a leg up in connecting with key people – it’s easier to invite someone to lunch or coffee when you have a mutual connection. 

These introductions can lead to new opportunities, partnerships, and even avenues for funding. For example, if you’re in the tech industry and looking to launch a new app, having a mentor who can introduce you to the right technology developers or venture capitalists can be invaluable. Furthermore, a mentor can help you navigate these new relationships effectively, ensuring you make the best possible impression and forge connections that will benefit your business long-term. 

3) Decision Making 

Entrepreneurs face difficult challenges – often during almost every phase of their journey. Whether it’s a difficult conversation about a business partner, brainstorming a strategic acquisition, or deciding on offering a new product, having someone to bounce ideas off of is advantageous for business owners. A seasoned mentor who understands your challenges as a business owner yet has an outside perspective can help parse through the information and get to the core of an issue. 

In addition to assisting with decision-making, a good mentor can help hold you accountable for those decisions by aiding in the formulation of trackable metrics, milestones, and holding your feet to the fire. Sometimes simply sharing your thoughts and plans out in the open is enough to bring clarity, and when you couple that with sage wisdom from an experienced entrepreneur, you increase the likelihood that your strategies are effective. 

4) Emotional Support 

It can be lonely at the top. The entrepreneurial life is often a rollercoaster of emotions. Unlike others who may be able to clock out at 5 PM and go home to a respite completely devoid of work, for the business owner, there is no such luxury. Whether you like it or not, your business and your personal life are intertwined in a 24/7 dance of balance. It doesn’t take much to get that balance out of alignment and for business concerns to bleed into your personal life. 

Odds are, you don’t have someone you can confide in within your business – when you are at the top, you must be careful with what you share with others. And you don’t want to create marital stress by saddling your spouse with all your business woes. 

This is where a engaging with a mentor can help – they have “been there, done that.” A mentor’s ability to empathize and understand where a business owner is coming from is paramount when sorting out your thoughts. If you need a pep talk, a cheerleader, a support system, a lay counselor, or just someone to vent to, a good mentor can be a support in your life. 

Effective Ways to Become a Mentee and Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Journey 

Self-Education: Begin by immersing yourself in the wealth of knowledge available through various avenues. Read biographies of successful entrepreneurs to understand their challenges and triumphs. Books like “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson or “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight offer deep insights into the journeys of iconic business figures. 

Listening to Podcasts: Subscribe to podcasts that focus on entrepreneurship. Shows like “The Faith-driven Entrepreneur” by Rusty Rueff and “The Tim Ferriss Show” provide valuable lessons and anecdotes from leading entrepreneurs. These podcasts not only furnish practical advice but also expose you to different styles of business thinking and problem-solving. 

Finding the Right Mentor: Once you have a solid base of knowledge and understand what you need from a mentor, begin searching for the right mentor who aligns with your business values and goals. Look for mentors through professional networks, industry associations, or mentorship programs designed for entrepreneurs. 

Formalizing the Mentorship: When you find a potential mentor, be clear about your goals and expectations. Discuss how often you will meet and what each session should cover. Setting these parameters early helps ensure both parties remain committed and find the relationship rewarding. 

Remember that mentorship can be a two-way street. Share your unique insights and experiences. As your relationship evolves, there may be areas where you can offer valuable perspectives while engaging with your mentor.


Please remember to contact BentOak Capital (“BentOak”), in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you want to impose, add, to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services, or if you wish to direct that BentOak to effect any specific transactions for your account. A copy of our current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request or at   

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.   

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.   

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member: FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through BentOak Capital, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.

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More about the author: Brandon W Garrett