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Dominant Personality Traits That Predict Entrepreneurial Success

A 2022 study by Tryson Yangailo and Abubaker Qutieshat titled “Uncovering dominant characteristics for entrepreneurial intention and success in the last decade: systematic literature review” suggests the following personal characteristics drive entrepreneurial intention and success: 

“The analysis of the literature identified self-efficacy, conscientiousness, locus of control, need for achievement and innovativeness as the indisputably and unarguably key top personal characteristics that predict both entrepreneurial intention and guarantee entrepreneurial success. The study also finds that characteristics that predict entrepreneurial intention also guarantee entrepreneurial success.”

Entrepreneurial traits
Entrepreneurial traits

“Based upon the 81 articles included in the review under this research study, it is worth noting that there has been an increase in the number of articles in the area under focus from 2012 to 2022, with a slow pace of authorship recorded in 2020 due to other factors such as the COVID 19 pandemic. 

The review has shown that the ten most dominant characteristics that predict entrepreneurial success and entrepreneurial intention include self-efficacy, conscientiousness, openness to experience, risk-taking propensity, locus of control, extraversion, need for achievement, innovativeness, agreeableness and neuroticism. 

However, some studies within the reviewed articles have shown that some characteristics, such as neuroticism, agreeableness and extraversion, open to experience, fail to both predict entrepreneurial success and entrepreneurial intension. 

Risk taking propensity fails to predict entrepreneurial intention, whereas a need for independence and stress tolerance fails to predict entrepreneurial success. This implies that of the ten most dominant characteristics identified, self-efficacy, conscientiousness, locus of control, need for achievement and innovativeness are the undisputed and unarguable key personal characteristics that predict both entrepreneurial intention and guarantee entrepreneurial success.”

Meaningful efforts have been made to understand what produces entrepreneurial success and to understand what separates successful founders from the ones who fail. 

Paul Graham, the legendary founder of Y Combinator, has published several authoritative essays on successful founder traits. His essay ‘What We Look For In Founders’ talks about a set of traits such as determination, flexibility, naughtiness, imagination, etc. 

In another essay titled ‘Relentlessly Resourceful’ he talks about a single unifying trait he names ‘relentlessly resourceful.’ Graham’s observations come from the lived experience of working with thousands of founders over many years. 

We have also published several pieces on common traits of successful founders.

Interestingly, the research findings don’t fall far off from these observations. Traits such as “self-efficacy, conscientiousness, locus of control, need for achievement, and innovativeness” can easily be bundled with the idea of resourcefulness. 

One potential implication of understanding these personality characteristics is that it can help aspiring entrepreneurs work consciously to develop these traits as well as support people in the field of entrepreneurship development in educating people effectively. 

Read the full paper here.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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