In my article Your Net Worth Is In Your Network, I explain why I often recommend to my clients that their first marketing priority be to expand their network and focus on building quality relationships (unless they're running a purely online business). I suggest this because the people we associate with most has a dramatic influence on the way we behave and how successful we are. That's because we subconsciously adopt the mind-set of the people closest to us and assume the aspirations of the most dominant members of our circle of influence. From this network comes our business mentors. The Important Role Business Mentors Play

Who we associate with really does matter. If we want to become highly successful entrepreneurs delivering a world class service and building a high growth business, it's important to model the mind-set, habits and behaviours of those people performing at the level we want to operate at. And surround ourselves with as many world-class experts in our field as we can possibly can.

These people are our mentors, and do not have to be people we know personally. We can access their experience, wisdom and knowledge by reading their books and blogs, listening to their podcasts and watching their webinars and videos. I've had dozens of mentors over the course of my career, and each one has taught me something important. Some relationships have lasted years, whilst others lasted for just a few months.

My first mentor was Chris Dorey who also happened to be my line manager. He was everything people look for in a great mentor. Always calm and measured, his judgement about people and situations was pitch-perfect. He cheered me on - and challenged me when he thought I was veering off course. He boosted my confidence when I doubted myself. He was brilliant at navigating the politics of the organisation whilst staying true to his core values. I think of Chris with huge affection, and hope everybody has a manager and mentor like Chris in their career.

Another mentor was William Barnard who supported me during one of the toughest periods of my career. His advice 'to rise above it' became like a mantra to me. If I was dealing with a challenging personnel matter, I would joke to William that I was channeling my inner Dalai Lama. If I was feeling especially irritated, I joked that I was channeling Mother Theresa too. William helped me to develop a wider perspective.

There have been countless other mentors who've helped me through my career, from the accountant who taught me about financial management to the business coach who taught me the art of sales to one of my best friends who tells me to 'go girl.'

Business mentors are everywhere, including online.

I started my own business and personal development journey reading Brian Tracy and Antony Robbins.

As a CEO, I followed Michael Hyatt's blog on leadership. When Michael decided to leave his CEO role with the publisher Thomas Nelson, this in part gave me confidence to leave my CEO role too. One of the daftest things I did was to stop following Michael so closely for a while. Had I done so, I'm sure that I would have built out a far bigger platform by now.

When I started seriously thinking about starting my own business, I read books by the Dragons at the time, Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis, James Caan and Duncan Bannantyne to find out how they got going on their entrepreneurial journey. I'm an avid reader so I often have a biography of a business leader or athlete on the go. From Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Sheryl Sandberg to Roger Federer, Sir Steve Redgrave and Chris Evert. (My childhood heroine).

Current business mentors include:

Because their content is consistently excellent and they are passionate about the relationships they build with their respective communities, these are the people I make time for currently.

I also look at founders of the brands I love as business mentors. If I get the opportunity I'll attend events where I can meet them. Red magazine often hosts events with leading entrepreneurs. It was at one of their #ThisIsASmartWoman lunches that I got to meet Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company.

==> You can read my the key business lessons I took away from that event HERE.

Join the Conversation

Question: I’d love to know who your business mentors are and why. I’m always on the look-out for new suggestions. Please let me know in the comments box below.

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I’m Denyse Whillier, a London based business coach and consultant. I guide entrepreneurs from across the globe to achieve profitable, scaleable growth and create businesses that are Built To Succeed™. Built To Succeed™ is my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, 25 years’ experience at senior leadership and managerial level and training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK's leading business school. It's this background that sets me apart and helps my clients to get BIG results.

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