Even billionaire CEOs have a business adviser – but why?

Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs during the early days of Facebook.  Twitter CEO and cofounder Jack Dorsey turns to Disney CEO Bob Iger when he needs business advice.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says of business coaching, ‘If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t be here today.  I’m a product of great mentoring, great coaching.  Coaches or mentors are very important.’  And Richard Branson has been very vocal about the importance of business mentoring, saying, ‘I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker.’

There’s a reason so many successful entrepreneurs and leaders credit a business mentor or business adviser for helping them get where they are.  And that reason is simple: everyone needs good advice.

‘I’ve been running my business for years.  I don’t need a business adviser.’

One common misconception is that mentoring or business advice is only for young entrepreneurs who are just starting out.  While good business advice is certainly important in a company’s early days, that need doesn’t end as the business, and the business owner, becomes more established.

Perhaps the best sales pitch for good business advice comes from Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.  Writing in Forbes after his business coach, Bill Campbell, passed away, Schmidt said:
‘When I started at Google in late 2001, John Doerr, one of our early investors called me to say, “Bill works with our companies.  He’s good at being a coach and mentor.”  I remember saying, “I don’t really need a coach.  I’ve been an experienced CEO for many years.  I’m not a kid.”  John pushed for it:  “Tennis players have coaches, and maybe you need a coach, too.”  Bill came over to talk to me, Larry Page and Sergey Brin [Google founders].  Once you met Bill, you knew you wanted him to help.  It’s hard to know what Google would have been like without him.  He was present at every decision of consequence.’

Integrating a business adviser into your team

Schmidt, Branson and these other successful CEOs were smart enough to recognise how a business mentor could add value.  Whether we run a multi-billion-dollar company or something a little more modest, most of us business owners want to continually get better at what we do.  But sometimes it takes the experience, encouragement and, crucially, different perspective of a business adviser or business coach to help us spot new opportunities or shoot for goals that we might otherwise think are beyond us.

Finding the right business adviser isn’t just about looking for experience and perspective, though.  Chemistry is key.  At Henchards, we spend a lot of time with our clients, so the chemistry has to be right – as it was for Bill Campbell and the Google team.  That’s why we carefully consider the chemistry at the outset, to ensure both parties are confident we can get going quickly, make real progress and continue working together to improve the company.

If billionaire CEOs turn to a business coach or business adviser, why shouldn’t you?  Discover how Henchards can bring a valuable new perspective to your business today.