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BFS Capital Blog

What Do Successful Business Owners Have In Common?

January 27, 2014

Are successful business owners born or made? As it turns out, probably some of both: Successful business owners seem to demonstrate some similar personality traits (born), as well as some common habits (made).

Drawing on prior research, the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences looked at personality predictors of business success and work satisfaction by querying 147 small business owners by way of a web-based assessment. The sample responded to three broad areas:

14 work-related personality traits, including adaptability, autonomy, competitiveness, dependability, emotional resilience, goal setting, optimism, persistence, risk tolerance, self- promotion, networking, tolerance for financial insecurity, work-based locus of control and work drive;

Three indicators of business success, including revenue growth, profit growth and income growth; and

Multiple facets of individual satisfaction.

The study found that 10 traits correlated with business success, with the top four being goal setting, networking, emotional resilience and work drive. Twelve of the 14 traits correlated with job satisfaction, and the top three predictors were optimism, work-based locus of control and work drive. Understanding this kind of information can benefit entrepreneurs and business owners tremendously.

Small Business Information reports on small business owners who were also the entrepreneurs who started the businesses. The site came up with 10 common character traits behind these successful businesses. The list follows (You’ll notice some overlap with the traits described above):











Do successful business owners also share some common habits—practices that we could learn from or even adopt? The Franchise Business Review came up with eight habits of successful business owners:

Always keep themselves and their employees motivated

Live by setting and tracking goals

Keep priorities in focus and manage time effectively

Manage money wisely and effectively

Make their own personal health (and that of others) a priority

Nimble in adapting to obstacles and change

Take educated risks and learn from every experience

Communicate clearly and authentically and network effectively

Entrepreneurs, too, apparently share habits that contribute to their success. Yahoo! Small Business points out that people like Bill Gates, Benjamin Franklin and Warren Buffet each have (or had) a set of habits that they practice daily and that add up to success in the long run. The site has come up with a whopping list of 50 such habits, a list too long to include in its entirety here. Here are just a handful to whet your appetite. You’ll definitely want to click the link above to read all 50!

Perfect (and use) your elevator pitch.

Self-promote (proudly!)

Take regular vacations to regain perspective and broaden your horizons.

See failure as a chance to re-set.

Break as many rules as you can.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan /

Which traits and/or habits do you feel are most beneficial to you in running your business?