My Amazing Business Mentor and How He’ll Mentor You, for Free | Ep. 39- Business Podcast
One of the top questions I get from Entrepreneurs is, “How do I find a business mentor?”
I’ve been lucky to have several in my business career, I’ve had some kind enough to mentor me for free, some who I’ve paid, some who were investors, some who were board members. All of them have helped me build a business.
In this episode I talk about one amazing business mentor who I’ve had for over twenty years, never met in person and how you can get him as a mentor too…for free.
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Hello, friends. Welcome to another episode of Build a Business success Secrets. I’m your host, Brandon C White.
And today I’ve been wanting to record this episode for a while, and I’ve had this mentor for at least 20 years. I think it’s been 25 years and I’ve never met him, and I’ve Only communicated with him on email once.
How does this happen? Or how does this work? Or how can you get the same type of mentor that can deliver enormous value to you on a regular basis? I’ll explain. Let’s get to it.
Here’s the deal I’ve been reading Inc magazine since I can remember. All the inspirational stories have always kept me going and making it real, knowing that it is attainable and reminding myself to always ask, Why not me? Why can’t I can do it if they could do it?
These stories are very similar. Ah, lot of people start from nothing and they build successful businesses. So I think this person, Norm Brodsky, has been writing street Smarts and in Inc magazine there is a column that has been around, I think, for about 25 years called Street Smarts and Norm Brodsky is the writer of it, and I think he started writing it with, ah, partner in one of his businesses I can’t quite remember.
And then over time he took over and has been writing it. But he’s been writing this column, street smarts, every single issue, and I have read it every single issue, and he really has been or mentor to me.
And why? Because if you read a calm or follow a person that long, you can see in it the patterns of the device and the philosophy, and you can adapt that philosophy to your own. And it’s been incredible.
Now I have actually never met Norm. I can remember when I first started out in my first business in the late nineties, I did reach out to Norm and we had an email exchange that he was very kind, and I forget what he advice he gave. But he gave me. It wasn’t long. It was maybe three or four lines of Here’s what I think you should do and here’s how to do it.
But it really meant something to me when he did reply. And really, that’s all I needed at the time and then every single issue which I’ve been subscribing. I don’t think there’s ever been elapsed.
He has street smarts in there, and his advice has always been down to earth. And really, I think I don’t know how many businesses Norm has done. I want to say it’s 56 or seven. I know that. He also partners with people now so hard to keep track. And I think when he started showing up in Street Smarts column, he had a storage file storage business, and it is totally unsexy.
And as a tech guy, I always found it interesting because that’s a really hard business. Storage for files seems like a commodity, and he’s been able. I think he’s done two or three of those businesses to be really successful at it and his advice.
Like I said, it was always down to Earth and he really has been a mentor to me. So when I hear entrepreneurs out there say I want a mentor, I can’t get one. Is it worth paying for Ah, coach or a mentor or someone to help me with business consultant?
The answer to all of that is yes, and you can get mentors that you don’t meet with that you don’t talk with but who write regularly or who put out something regularly that you can follow.
And it’s really on you at that point to be mentored by them. Now I got to congratulate Norm if for some reason he’s listening to this because to write a column for 25 years consistently is super hard.
But it’s been immensely valuable, and I am sure that I am not the only one out there who has benefited. I’m sure other entrepreneurs out there consider him a mentor to, so find somebody that you like and follow them and take a chance.
Sometimes you might follow five people, and some of them die off and they don’t keep writing or they don’t keep publishing podcasts or they don’t do something else. But it really is that consistency and following that philosophy, and I consider Norm a great mentor and I can think of several times in my business career when I thought that to him.
In fact, one of his articles in I think it was just a few years ago, he was talking about how people do come to him and say, Hey, Norm, is this a great business idea? And I get a lot of people who come to me and say the same things. A lot of students and he wrote something in there that I was really profound.
And he said, I’m not going to judge anyone’s business and tell you whether I think it’s good or bad because the fact of the matter is if he or and he said I or anyone truly knew that, then we be multibillionaires because you just keep picking winners.
And even the best pickers can’t pick to a point where they’re just Hey, he didn’t have the park all the time. Even venture capitalists. It’s one in 10, 2 and 10, maybe three and 10 hits. So you’re batting average is low.
And I thought about that. And it really shaped how I give feedback to entrepreneurs because first of all, I always thought that you’re just one data point. If you come to me and say Brandon, do I have a great idea? I’m just one data point and I wouldn’t want you to overvalue that data point.
I think that was norms. Point is, if he always knew what was great. Then he’d go do it himself and make a bunch of money. But there are core principles in business that you can readily identify when you’ve been in business a long time and say, Well, maybe your business model, you could tweak it here or there.
But at the end of the day, the consumer will tell all of us entrepreneurs if we have a good idea or not. And if the problem were solving is they consider worth paying for.
And if you solve a problem that someone will pay you for and do that on a consistent basis with really good margins and or at high volume, whether that’s a product or service, then you have a winning business. And there are so many examples of entrepreneurs who have been told that they have a lousy business and turns out they had a good business.
We know a lot of those as entrepreneurs who follow this stuff. FedEx is one. I think Fred got a D. I think on his paper, Airbnb was turned down something like 50 times Amazon. I think I was listening to really early interview of Jeff Bezos from Amazon. And I think he said he visited 80 investors or something crazy before that happens.
So not all or everyone hits it out of the park on their first swing.
So, Norm, this is a tribute to you. Thank you for being consistent and showing all of us fellow entrepreneurs. What really consistency means time and success. Time and success leads to success.
And thanks for being a mentor. Find your mentor out there, follow him and keep their voice in your head. Oh, by the way, you can always check out Norman Street Smart In Inc magazine. I have absolutely no affiliation with them, but it is a great column.
All right. Pretty cool. Hopefully, that was useful to you. I got I’ve wanted to record this episode for a really long time, and I’m sitting here in my home office in Half Moon Bay getting ready or a business trip where I’m driving to.
And I thought, I’m just going to record this right now. I need to get out of my head. So I hope you enjoyed that. And if you enjoyed this episode, please rate review and subscribe. So you don’t miss any more until the next show.
Remember, you are just one business plan away. I’m rooting for your success. We’ll see you soon.