Most Successful Business Owners Have These 5 Character Traits (And Not All Are Born With Them)

Some business champions are born. These days, though, many are made. Lifetime employment with a company followed by retirement with a pension isn’t standard any more. With fewer companies committed to employees for the long haul, more success-driven people are seeking their futures in their own businesses.

So, can anyone be a business owner? Does it take a “Type A” personality? Can an introvert be a successful entrepreneur? Surely the research offers solid answers by now? In fact, researchers, business experts, and psychologists have widely different views. (Some say extroversion is practically essential, but we’ll name an introvert that blows that one right out of the water.)

We do find a few key character traits surfacing frequently when the business success stories are examined. Here are five big ones.

1. Passion

This is no cliché. Successful business owners get excited by what they do. Their product or service is their passion. They’ve resolved to be uncomfortable with anything less than ideal performance. What turns them on is the chance to attain excellence.

What about the Type A personality? Is there anything to that one? Yes and no: Type A is more relevant to success in management than business ownership. The Type A personality trait connects to a work ethic. Researchers have, for example, found Type A women particularly ambitious in management, working long hours, and devoting more of their personal time to work.

2. Self-Confidence

Successful business owners stand behind their decisions and commitments. They do not waver just to be agreeable or popular. They are mightily self-directed.

Remember — they’re passionate. They are radioactive with belief that people need what they offer. This is the attitude that overwhelms negative reactions to the venture before its popular success.

Flexibility is is the other side of this coin. Authentic self-confidence is not rigid. Flexibility that enables the business owner to respond to new ideas, tastes, and markets is a vital attribute.

Those who succeed in business are willing to be frank with themselves and admit something isn’t working. They have a knack for listening to the right critics, and for pivoting when those critics are right.

3. Fear Control

No successful person is immune to fear. Yet some people’s tolerance for fear is especially strong. Life in the business world provides plenty of hair-raising moments. Fears and anxieties, little and big, need to be pushed through.

There’s the small stuff:

“Will there be enough money for this beautiful web design? When will the return on investment show up?”

Other fears loom large:

“Will that superstore really drag me to court over my use of a phrase at the very core of my brand?”

“What if I can’t make it? What’ll I do should this whole thing flop?”

Which brings us to…

4. Staying Power

If you own your business, you’ll encounter daunting situations. A personal crisis occurs and suddenly paying the mortgage comes into conflict with waiting for investments to pan out. Call it quits and get a job? Sometimes that happens. But that doesn’t mean throwing in the towel.

Yes, chances are, some successful business owners you know temped or did retail stints for a few months or years to survive. But ultimate success means never, ever giving up.

So, what’s the secret of that tenacity?

Most people who develop their own businesses aren’t following the money — though if they succeed, the money follows them. Successful business owners follow their ideas.

The more their ideas become interwoven with their professional identities, they less likely they’ll be to let temporary setbacks and frustrations sideline them.

They don’t cut their losses easily. When the going gets rough, they just dig in. They can’t quit. Watch them figure out workarounds to problems as they go.

5. Extroversion — or Introversion

Long-respected research points to extroversion as a key to business success. Why? An extrovert feels energized by people — clearly a great asset in business circles.

Yet because different kinds of business takes greater or lesser time in conceptualization and development, introverts can excel where others would have missed opportunities.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is an introvert. Case made.

The Door to Success? It’s Wide Open

About 13% of North Americans plan to start a business in the next 3 years, a Babson College report tells us. But the same report finds a great deal of economic potential for new entrants, and numbers are on the rise.

That itself tells us successfully owning a business isn’t something only certain people are born into.

Success in business ownership is achieved around the world by people at any age, from any background, with any GPA, with all types of personalities.

A person need not be born with an entrepreneurial character — just the burning desire to cultivate it.