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A must read article for new and seasoned , discussing traits one should have to succeed in their businesses.


by Ryan Westwood


Researchers and psychologists have spent decades working to dissect, analyze and zero in on the personality characteristics that are intrinsic to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial success. They have amassed a sizeable body of scholarly work in their efforts to understand which traits seem to be unique to entrepreneurs, which traits seem to be associated with successful vs. unsuccessful entrepreneurs, and which traits are correlated with specific entrepreneurial skill sets.

Some have posited that the basic elements of entrepreneurship are perception, courage, and action. Others have suggested that the key traits distinguishing true entrepreneurs from managers with similar responsibilities are risk-taking propensity, locus of control, energy level, and need for achievement.

Still other studies have approached the question by defining a set of personality traits to examine, and then conducting a rigorous analysis seeking to draw meaningful insights about the particular set of traits. A seminal 2004 study of U.S. entrepreneurs, for example, analyzed their impressions of the relative importance of the Big Five personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism – which psychologists believe are at the core of every individual’s personality. In a follow-up 2011 study, researchers investigated the role these same Big Five traits play in entrepreneurial failure.


What Traits Do We Need To Succeed As #Entrepreneurs?



A 2004 British study of entrepreneurs, meanwhile, looked at the relative importance of six characteristics associated with entrepreneurship: focus, advantage, creativity, ego, team, and social. And a 1999 Dutch study that sought to build a personality test capable of assessing an entrepreneur’s likelihood for success started by weighing three main characteristics (achievement, internal locus of control, and risk-taking propensity) and five secondary characteristics (autonomy, power, tolerance of ambiguity, affiliation, and endurance).

What becomes clear from looking at this body of work is that researchers have worked in earnest over the years to identify the personality traits associated with entrepreneurial success. What also becomes clear is that there’s little consensus about which traits are associated with entrepreneurial success, or about what wisdom business schools and mentors and colleagues should be imparting to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Therefore, we decided to tackle this issue from a different perspective: Ask the entrepreneurs themselves. Working with an expert team of researchers and academic colleagues, we designed a web survey inviting 10,000 business CEOs and company founders to select the top five personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. We scoured the literature on this subject to develop a large, inclusive list of many possible personality traits commonly associated with entrepreneurial success, generating a list of 23 traits in all.

After analyzing the data, we found a single trait rose above the other 23 personality traits: vision. Indeed, this trait was the only one that was selected by a majority of respondents (61%).

Our anonymous online survey was returned by 2,631 respondents, all of whom have helmed companies that have generated at least $1 million in annual revenue.

After analyzing the data, we found a single trait rose above the other 23 personality traits: vision. Indeed, this trait was the only one that was selected by a majority of respondents (61%).

The other top five most commonly selected traits of successful entrepreneurs were, in order: work ethic (45%), resilience (41%), positivity (35%), and passion (34%).




Although all 23 traits on our list were selected by at least some of the respondents, it was revealing to see how dramatic the spread was. In particular, the five least commonly selected traits were chosen by 10% or less of respondents: influential (5%), frugality (5%), detailed (7%), caring (9%), and money manager (10%).

The message our 2,631 survey respondents seemed to be conveying is that while the traits of entrepreneurial success may vary, there are some traits that we should focus on building in ourselves – and others that perhaps we can hire talented people to help fulfill.



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Curated from What Traits Do We Need To Succeed As Entrepreneurs?

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