Mark Bouris on why everyone in business needs a tough mentor

Mark Bouris on why everyone in business needs a tough mentor - 1st April 2019

Celebrated businessman Mark Bouris says it takes balls to step outside your nine-to-five job. But you need more than just bravery.


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Good business people need a good mentor. Source: Supplied


by Mark Bouris, The Mentor

The kind of people who are brave and ballsy enough to step outside the nine-to-five comfort zone and go it alone in business tend to be confident personalities. Believe me, you need some self-belief to make it, but one big mistake that a lot of people make when starting out is believing that they know it all, because nobody does.

Sure, you might have read a few books, done your research, even got a degree, if you’re the kind of person who thinks that’s going to be useful in the real world, but the fact is, you don’t know it all, and that’s why having a mentor is so vital.

Two heads really are better than one, and when one of those heads sits on the broad shoulders of billionaire Kerry Packer, as it did in the case of my mentor, you can be sure you’re going to know a lot more when he’s done with you.

I spent several fascinating, and frankly sometimes frightening years working with Kerry, who was a major investor in Wizard Home Loans early on. And that meant he was, shall we say, motivated to make time for me.

The people who say that Packer was a hard old bastard are typically those who never worked closely with him, because if you had you’d know that “hard” is too brittle a word for how tough he really was.

I met with him every month, for six years, and every single one of those meetings was like an examination, a stern going-over from his incredible business brain. And every one of those meetings helped me to grow.

Don’t imagine that Kerry was the type to sit you down, put an arm around your shoulder and let you in on the secrets of how to run a successful business. Nor did he ever tell me what to do.

Legendary Australian media magnate Kerry Packer served as Mark Bouris’s business mentor.
Source: The Daily Telegraph

No, Kerry didn’t give me answers, what he gave me instead were questions. Lots of them, every time we met, and I always had to have my answers ready, because he would never forget what I’d said the month before, or two years earlier, because he had an unbelievable memory.

But it was his questioning, the problems he put to me and the solutions he sent me out to find, that helped to make me a success.

I know that I was very, very fortunate to have had a mentor like Kerry Packer, but the fact is there are many, many good mentors out there, who can help you to learn from their experiences.

You just have to find the right one.

That’s why I want to start a global movement for business owners, connecting people to mentors. Mentors that can act as subject-matter experts, or even just hold you accountable for what you said the previous month.

Mark Bouris, AM, is an Australian businessman and the founder of, which gives online access to Australia’s greatest business minds | @markbouris