Who’s Your Ultimate Business Mentor?

ultimate-business-mentor

If you could choose any living person to be your business mentor, who would you pick? We asked dozens of entrepreneurs to name the business icon that they would love to emulate and seek business wisdom from. Well, we’ve tallied the responses, and here are the 10 names that topped this year’s ultimate business mentor list…

1. Richard Branson – If I could choose any mentor, I’d choose Richard Branson. Mr. Branson has mastered the ability to pursue amazing different industries, all the while maintaining his brand identity, quality and integrity. I would love Mr. Branson’s advice on how to diversify my product without watering down the integrity of my idea and his advice on how I could grow the educational experience that I’ve created in order to reach more students. -Tammy Dorsten, Holdheide Education

2. Oprah Winfrey – Oprah has taught us business by being, doing and conquering it in ways never seen before. Her leadership teaches me to embrace impossibilities, despite what you see in front of you. Oprah Winfrey could help me reach my business goals because of her genuine experience, know how and willingness to help others to achieve. Her strict standards of excellence provide the vehicle needed to only end with one result, success! -Chantay Bridges, Clear Choice Realty

3. Warren Buffet – I believe that the best person alive to choose as a business mentor would be Warren Buffet. Warren Buffet is not only a highly profiled and recognized name, but his ability to evaluate and predict the outcomes and levels of income of
any business venture would make Warren hands down the best guy to have
on a business team. I own a non-profit organization and a S corporation and with both; a solid team is not always easy to find. I believe starting foundations are important and Warren Buffet would be my go to guy if I could choose one. Aaron Ashworth, Venture Inc.

4. Marie Forleo – I would choose Marie Forleo has my business mentor. She kind of is already even though she doesn’t know me :-). I love the way she set up her business model to really live the life she wants. She is genuine and honest, even if it isn’t exactly what you want to hear – it’s probably what you need to hear. Marie uses her powers for good with her charismatic style, scary crazy energy, and a ton of humor thrown in. She has built her empire from nothing. She knows her stuff! Marie has the ability to motivate and teach at the same time, which has alluded so many other successful entrepreneurs. -Sammi Johnson, Frecklelips

5. Daymond John - If I could choose my ultimate dream mentor it would have to be Daymond John. He is the founder of FUBU clothing company. I consider myself a child of the 1990s era of music and fashion and remember wearing FUBU clothing as it was in style during that time. I followed his success throughout the years as he has become a leading brand expert and authority within the business alliance. I speak heavily on the importance of marketing and branding yourself to success and I believe Daymond John represents a true success story. -Carol Sankar, Carol Sankar Enterprises

6. Mitt Romney – I’d pick Mitt Romney. I have no allegiance to the man or his political beliefs; in fact, on most of them I’m opposed, but he’s got two huge things going for him: 1. He’s immensely smart and very successful. Sweat equity, whatever. He’s run and founded several multi-billion dollar businesses (Bain & Company and Bain Capital) from when they were at the very beginning. It takes a certain chutzpah to make businesses succeed. Romney pushes everything to the limit, and seems relentless in pursuit of his goals. -Kapil Kale, GiftRocket

7. Sheila Johnson - I would select Sheila Johnson, the first black female billionaire, to be my business mentor. I admire how she built a TV empire (BET) from scratch with her husband, with no legacy wealth and while raising a family. Working closely with my husband in my business and to raise our 2 young boys, I know just how important it is to balance joint and individual pursuits, and the challenges of setting down the entrepreneurial path with fixed finances. Mrs. Johnson holds several leadership positions with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. In both the sports and wine industries, men dominate in terms of ownership, so I draw inspiration from her ability to forge ahead in a male-dominated arena. -Selena Cuffe, Heritage Link Brands

8. Peter Shankman – If I had to choose anyone to be my business mentor, it would easily be Peter Shankman. The reason he would be the ultimate mentor is that he is the embodiment of a true entrepreneur. Not only is he an avid businessman and entrepreneur, he also started HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO, a tri-daily email, gives companies the opportunity to gain a larger business presence and become a source for thousands of reputable media outlets. Shankman would be my top choice for a person to help me reach my business goals because he is an exciting person to be around. I’ve seen him speak live a couple times, and he literally grabs your attention as soon as he starts speaking. -Ian Aronovich, Government Auctions

9. Vivek Ranadive – I have to choose Vivek Ranadive, CEO of TIBCO. Vivek is an Indian immigrant, MIT chip designer, top Harvard Business School grad who took a fundamental chip design principle and applied as a software communications bus, or TIB, The Information Bus. Vivek could envision the power ever-faster software and never wavered from his dream. Vivek teaches people how to empower their dreams and realize them. -Sean Hallahan

10. Charles Handy – Charles Handy is my pick. He is an author of several well-respected business books. In a world where the term thought leader gets tossed around way too much, Handy truly is a thought leader. I love his model of consulting. My understanding is that when someone calls with an interest in working with him, he asks, “Do you know my work?” If they don’t (and sometimes they don’t) he says, “I’ll send you a couple of books. If you like what you see, come on out to the farm and we’ll talk.” As a consultant, I find that the field has filled with way too much hype, models, and emphasis on billable hours. I love the simplicity and integrity of his approach. -Rick Maurer, Maurer & Associates

What about you? If you could choose anyone alive to be your business mentor, who would you pick? Did your ultimate business mentor make the list above? If not, add your top choice below…

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