Is this you? The traits of a successful entrepreneur

Sam McKeith

Want to know if you’re going to make it in business? A new study into what motivates winning entrepreneurs could hold the answer.

The study of 82 successful entrepreneurs from Equilibrio Coaching, found those who reached the top in their industries had a number of key attributes and motivations in common.

One of the biggest surprises, study author Michelle Duval said, was that many successful entrepreneurs had little motivation for completing detailed tasks.

“Having low motivation for detail, having low motivation for structure and having a low motivation for procedures is not only helpful in actually correlating success,” Duval said.

“When you actually talk to them and understand the pace that they move at, you get an idea of why it’s important to have low motivations in these areas.”

The research, released this month, showed successful entrepreneurs were more motivated to pursue opportunities that could grow their ventures.

“If they have too much focus on procedure, organised planning, mapping out large documents, if they spend all their time doing that, they’re actually missing opportunities that are right in front of them,” Duval said.

“It means they’re not taking things to market and really critically, they’re burning through cash.”

“When you actually talk to them and understand the pace that they move at, you get an idea of why it’s important to have low motivations in these areas.”

The research differs from many previous entrepreneurial studies because it looks at what motivates successful business people, not just their personality types.

It examined a total 48 attitudes and motivations in the sample group, finding that some motivators “were more linked with venture success than others”.

According to the findings, entrepreneurs were up to 43 per cent more focused on money than regular workers and they often showed “indifference” to rules.

Big time entrepreneurs were also much more likely than ordinary workers to be focused on turning their ideas into action, it found.

Duval said another key takeaway was how important a tolerant mindset was to success.

“They’re very flexible and engaging and are able to maximise the resources that they have rather than saying ‘we can’t do that.'"

She said as opposed to an “assertive” outlook, a tolerant businessperson was able to get the best out of those around them.

“They accept their team members, they accept other people around them and they say, ‘he or she does things differently but it doesn’t matter as long as we get the outcome,” she said.

“They’re very flexible and engaging and are able to maximise the resources that they have rather than saying ‘we can’t do that.’"

Duval said one big plus of this attitude was that it allowed you to do more with less.

“In an entrepreneurial venture you have limited resources and you can’t pay very much for the resources that you do have,” she said.

“If you’re too high on assertiveness you won’t be able to fully appreciate what you have.”

Sam McKeith

Sam McKeith is Sydney-based media professional. He has contributed to many leading publications including The Huffington Post, The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and BRW Magazine. He was previously a senior reporter at the Australian Associated Press where he covered national affairs. 

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