Top 10 characteristics of successful small business owners

6 years ago

Top 10 characteristics of successful small business owners

You’ve written your business plan, secured funding, premises and staff but have you got what it takes to make a success of your small business?

New research has revealed the top traits of entrepreneurs.

The study, by Vistaprint scrutinised the similarities and differences among small business owners (SBOs) with less than 50 staff and full-time employees (FTEs).

Defining characteristics of successful business owners were empathy, confidence and passion for their job. Full time employees were more likely to be motivated by money and less likely to value work-life balance.

Ambition was revealed to be a stronger characteristic among small business owners with 20.5 per cent listing it compared with 15.8 per cent of employees. Owners also possessed greater independence and desire to help people.

Here’s the full rundown:

Characteristics% of SBOs who claimed these traits% of FTEs who claimed these traits
1. Independent45.8%31.8%
2. Passionate about work31.3%16.3%
3. Desire to help people30.6%26.9%
4. Desire to make money30.1%29.1%
5. Love for job29.6%14.4%
6. Unique27.5%22.9%
7. Empathetic26.6%23.4%
8. Confident25.3%15.8%
9. Strong character22.6%14.1%
10. Ambitious20.5%15.8%


The survey was conducted among 1,600 respondents, split between 800 small businesses owners and 800 full-time employees.

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Lucy Liddiard