Want to Be an Entrepreneur? You May Want to Hang Out with One First!

If there’s one thing that buying a business opportunity, franchise or any other proven business model has in its favor, it’s the fact that you’re surrounded, or at the very least have access to, other entrepreneurs who have some knowledge you might want and need and that they are willing to share. Maybe it’s no wonder then that going the established-track-record route has so much appeal for so many.

According to a new Kauffman Foundation study, that’s not surprising. In fact, its primary contention is that entrepreneurship is at the very least somewhat “contagious.” That’s right, the study’s authors write, “The entrepreneurial instinct is, like many human behaviors, imitative.”

Citing many instances where humans become heavily influenced by what they observe others doing as the basic premise behind their theory, it turns out that there is a strong statistical likelihood that you’re more likely to become an entrepreneur if you know one. Observe others doing what you’d like to be doing successfully, the authors say, and odds are tipped in your favor that you’re an entrepreneur in the making.

“While we can’t determine specific causality, the association between knowing an entrepreneur and being one was significant and large,” the study found. Additionally and perhaps even more interestingly, men were more likely than women to become entrepreneurs if they knew entrepreneurs.

All of this speaks to a concept that we here at BusinessOpportunity.com have driven home many times before…having a mentor when you’re starting out in business—someone who’s been there, done that—is really important. But the expert advice that a mentor can provide is only one of the many benefits that can come from making a concerted effort to seek help from those who have walked the walk.

Here are some others to consider:

They’ll Tell It to You Straight

Buying a home-based or other business opportunity or small business is never smooth sailing at first, and having someone there to tell you when you’re doing things the hard way or the wrong way can save you a lot of time and money. Sometimes we don’t always want to hear what we need to, but in business it’s crucial to remain open, especially when the counselor is someone you respect and know you can trust.

They Know the People You’ll Want and Need to Know

Networking is a crucial part of startup and overall business opportunity or other small business ownership success, whether it’s to find the right partners, vendors, consultants or even experts to round out your team. Mentors who already have been successful in business for themselves have the contacts ready-made that you may very well want and need to get things going and keep growing over time.

They May Offer a Complementary Skill Set

No two entrepreneurs are exactly alike, so chances are that your small business mentor will have some expertise and innate skills that you simply don’t. When you’re looking for the right one, that may be something you want to consider. Looking for someone who isn’t just like you may be a plus. Combined you may just make an unbeatable team, and finally….

It Offers Great ROI…of Your Time

Finding a mentor is oftentimes a fairly risk-free endeavor. In fact, it’s almost always free or at the very least low-cost and requires little more than an investment of your time. If you do buy into a business opportunity or other established small business model, chances are that having a mentor to guide you comes along with the territory in some way, shape or form. But if not, there are many organizations out there to help where entrepreneurial mentoring is concerned. In fact, it’s usually a very large part of what they do as a matter of routine. Options include SCORE, the nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers and even your local Chamber of Commerce, among others.

The trick is to recognize that associating with people you identify with and who can both propel you in the right direction and serve as a positive and capable role model matters, and it matters a great deal. So be conscious about the kinds of people you surround yourself with if your ultimate goal is to become a successful entrepreneur.

Perhaps Colin Powell said it best…

“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”

For more on the Kauffman Study, click here on Getting the Bug: Is (Growth) Entrepreneurship Contagious now!