Entrepreneurs say nature beats nurture

We’ve been taking a look at what makes a business brain brilliant in the boardroom. The results may surprise you…

As part of our build up to the O2 X Awards, we’ve surveyed over 500 small businesses, held more than ten hours of face to face interviews and looked at some of our best known businessmen to find the secrets of their success.

The good news is that we’ve narrowed them down to five key traits which 84% of shared. They are:

  1. Obsessive optimism: this approach to business creates a resilient attitude to failure and setbacks, an essential trait when starting out as your own boss.
  2. Enjoyment of responsibility: a highly developed sense of responsibility enables successful business people to view responsibility as an attraction rather than a burden.
  3. Desire to achieve: a major driver of entrepreneurial behaviour which enables successful business people to be single-minded about achieving their goals in spite of obstacles.
  4. The reward of hard work: small business owners are driven by reward, both in the monetary sense, but also in the more emotional sense of reward and pride in driving their business forward.
  5. The urge to be self-employed from childhood: This trait was present in nearly half (48%) of those questioned and also a common trait amongst celebrity entrepreneurs such as Sir Alan Sugar.

The study also found out some other interesting statistics:

  • 67% of people we surveyed said life experience and previous employment is important
  • Only 14% placed emphasis on formal education while only 31% had studied a business-specific qualification
  • 60% of entrepreneurs launched their first business by age 30
  • 76% of people said their close friends included other small business owners
  • 54% were encouraged to start a business by their friends

The O2 X Awards recognise and reward successful small businesses in the UK and are open for entries now. You can enter the awards or find out more information on our X Awards site.

For more information on the survey and a quote from Simon Devonshire, our Head of Small Business Marketing, head to our media centre.