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Money or Money & Mentor?

06 November 2013

A friend of mine approached me recently and told me how excited she was that her brother wanted to support her sons aged in their early 20’s by becoming business partners with them in a business project. The reasons for her excitement related to her brother’s fine business skills that she thought would assist her sons immensely, plus her brother’s wealth that she knew would assist the project in getting started.

No more than a fortnight later I saw her again and asked if the project had progressed. She told me that it had progressed “after a fashion” but in a way that was not great for family relations but great for her boys. Apparently there were some challenges with the contract that her brother had wanted to draft with the boys. His outcome was to document everyone’s expectations, ensuring everything was properly documented. The boys were not happy with the contract because they wanted to have the sole responsibility to sign cheques and make the decisions that would encumber the new company.

In my discussion I learnt that one of the key objectives the brother had was to be available to mentor the boys and to assist them with the knowledge and skills he’d learned from 30 years in business. It seemed the boys valued their uncle’s money more than his mentoring.  

So what would you take, the money or the mentoring? And what for your young adult children if they were given the opportunity to choose a mentor or money?

It goes back to the old story about giving a man a fish or giving him the skills to fish for himself.  Or the proverb about the two sons, one who chose a lump sum inheritance and the other who chose $1 that doubled everyday.

Her sons took the money. The brother apparently realised that the boys valued his money more than mentoring so he called them and said, “would you like to be mentored and have me put cash into this business or would you like me to put $80,000 into your bank account as an interest free loan and not join you?” They said they would think about it and call him back. The next day, instead of a phone call they emailed him the account details. He promptly kept his end of the bargain.

It happens that I know the parties in this situation well enough to know that to be mentored by this businessman would be seriously valuable for any 20 year old. This is not about a judgement on money over mentoring. The boys in this case may very well progress to be incredible business people and this could be the wisest decision they’ve ever made.  It’s a choice. What would you choose? Why?


Lipstick Learning is an initiative of Sydney based business leader, entrepreneur and Master NLP Practitioner Madelaine Cohen. Sharing information and joining forces with people who choose to lead. Madelaine has more than two decades of inspiration from her businesses in consumer products, sports marketing and healthcare.  She takes a leading role in helping people transition from employment or trading time for income to their own business in the health, beauty and anti-aging sectors. Madelaine works with business models including a 10 x 10 process and 10:6:4:1 ratio strategy for generating profit of $100K or more per annum in your own business.   Why?  Inspire people to lead in free enterprise & together we can create lifetimes of health and happiness. To find out how you can start your own business and transition safely from employment to free enterprise, contact Madelaine through Lipstick Learning.

Madelaine welcomes connection and networking so if you have something to ask or share, go for it.