How Much is a Mentor Worth? Is Mark Cuban the Grinch or kind Saint Nick?

150 150 Ellen Ensher
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Mentor Tree In this week’s episode of Shark Tank, the owner of one of my favorite local companies,, went on Shark Tank. Now, I know I have no business watching TV this time of year since what I should be doing is: Grading 80 papers, writing an exam, prepping to present to Legg Mason, planning for Christmas and writing two articles due on December 15th. But nooo- I am watching Shark Tank- this is why I am Professor Couch Potato!

So, anyway, Scotty Claus owns a company which delivers living Christmas trees to your home – so you get a big tree in the pot (see photo for sample)and it is ALIVE! And then they come and pick it up. It helps the planet, relieves my “I am killing a tree but hate plastic” feelings and Scotty and his team of elves are just delightful. (When you call them, they all have “elf-candy” names . . . like Taffy or Caramel . . . (and yes, if you are warped like me these sort of feel like stripper names but they are so sweet that the naughty thoughts dissipate quickly). So, Scotty went on Shark Tank and Mark Cuban gave Scotty $150,000 for 40% of his company. Scotty was delighted and I had an important realization. Entrepreneurs like Scotty don’t just want money, they want a mentor and they are willing to pay dearly for it. In this case, Scotty gets Mark’s connections, verve, and marketing savvy but he gives up a very large chunk of his company which made me wonder—Just how much is a mentor worth?

What would you pay for a mentor or mentoring program? If Santa was giving out mentors for Christmas, who would yours be? And, what do you think?—Is having Mark Cuban as your mentor worth 40% of your company?