11 Keys to Great Success in Life and Business: Key #5 Find Great Mentors

Key #5: Find Great Mentors
The most amazing thing I have found about massively successful people is that they both credit other people who mentored them for helping them achieve success and, as a result, are very willing to mentor others. Over my 35+ years building Proforma, I have had the great fortune to be mentored by some incredibly successful people, including a few billionaires.

Sometimes the mentoring was an ongoing relationship like what I enjoyed with Fred DeLuca, the founder of Subway. I met Fred by participating in a trade association and I greatly valued the guidance, friendship and support he offered me. Unfortunately, Fred passed away recently, but I will always remember the great influence he had on my life and the impact he had on making Proforma what it is today.

Other times, the mentoring was just a conversation or two. I had one meeting with Alan Schonberg (now deceased), the founder of Management Recruiters, who gave me one powerful piece of advice that I am confident has been worth more than $25 million. Easily. I met Alan because I just reached out and asked for a meeting. Other mentors have included my forum group of 10 great fellow CEO members of Young Presidents Organization (back when I qualified for things for “young” people), fellow board members when I served on the International Franchise Association Board of Directors and some industry legends I have met through industry trade associations. Finally, one person that “mentored” me never spoke with me one-on-one. I had the pleasure to hear Jim Russell, founder of RBF, speak at a trade association meeting in the early years of Proforma. That helped me accelerate our growth and today accounts for over $50 million of our $500 million in annual sales.

Here’s some advice for finding mentors:

1.    Identify people whose success you would like to emulate. Reach out and tell them you admire them and ask for a few minutes of their time.
2.    Join and participate in your applicable trade associations.
3.    Attend seminars conducted by massively successful people. For some, it’s their way of giving back.
4.    Listen for the kernels of ideas that could propel you in ways you never imagined.

On your own and all alone can be a recipe for disaster. Find great mentors. And as you achieve success, mentor others.

Previously, in our “11 Keys to Success” series we discussed:
Key 1: “Add Value”
Key 2: “Find Passion”
Key 3: “Be Extraordinary”

Stay tuned next time for the fourth key to achieving great success in life and business: start now.


Read past articles in Greg’s Million Dollar Mindset at Promo Marketing Magazine online.

AboutGreg Muzzillo, Founder of Proforma

Greg Muzzillo started Proforma as an industry distributor in 1978. The company grew quickly and in the early 1980s Proforma was recognized for three consecutive years on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies in North America. In the late 1980’s Proforma introduced its membership program to enable distributors to retain their business ownership and independence, and to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, one back office including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems and more. Today Proforma has more than 750 members with over $500 million in sales. Proforma has over 100 members in its Million Dollar Club and more than 40 members in its Multi-Million Dollar Club (With sales ranging from $2 million to over $26 million). In 2014, eight Proforma members were named to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 List of the 5000 Fastest Growing Companies.


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