Four personality traits of a natural business owner

If you run a small business, you might find that occasionally your confidence is tested by tasks that don’t come easily – but isn’t that part of the reason why you started a business in the first place?

Rising to the challenge is just one of the things that singles a person out and makes them just right for running their own business. In fact, we surveyed people across the UK and found a distinct set of qualities that make small business owners stand out from the crowd.

In this article, we’re going to look at the four key areas that set small business owners apart. We will highlight how each of these qualities can make a difference when it comes to the day-to-day running of a small business.

So, what are those qualities that are shared by small business owners and should be valued and harnessed for ongoing success?

More than double the amount of small business owners said they were motivated by a love of their job, compared to full-time employees.

You’re passionate

Our survey polled 800 British small business owners and 800 British full-time employees to see if there were any significant differences in their attitudes to work. It turns out there were: almost twice as many small business owners (31%) than full-time employees (16%) said they were passionate about work.

Passion is the cornerstone of the small business owner. It’s what gets florists to the flower market for 3am and drives toy-makers to experiment with new ideas. And when the initial designs don’t quite work out, passion is what drives them to stick at it until those ideas are perfected.

Harnessing passion to do your absolute best is part of the reason why small businesses owners are twice as likely to say they loved their job than those in full-time employment. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – the UK’s biggest business organisation – one of the main reasons for people starting their own business is a desire to turn their passion into a career.

“Many people start a business so they can make a career out of doing what they love,” says Dave Stallon, commercial director at the FSB. Our survey backs this up too, as more than double the amount of small business owners (21.3%) cited the love of their job as their main career motivation compared to full-time employees (10.3%).

“Creating something from nothing doesn’t just happen, it needs perseverance.”

You’re a strong character

To come up with an idea, persevere with it through lean times, and turn it into a business with customers and employees, takes a lot of heart and determination. Little wonder then that while just 14% of full-time employees claimed to have a strong character, almost 23% of small business owners said the same.

It makes sense, really. Creating something from nothing doesn’t just happen, it needs perseverance – and that only comes if you’re the type of person who isn’t going to be deterred by early setbacks, or put off by the prospect of working hard initially for little return, so that you can reap bigger and more satisfying rewards further down the line.

Dave adds: “The type of people who set up a small business and prosper are usually in it for the long run. They want to make their mark, and define themselves on their own terms. They also are aware that there is a lot involved in running a successful business, and understand when to seek expert advice.”

Over a third of full-time employees surveyed said they would like to have their own business one day.

You’re confident

Another quality that sets the small business owner apart is confidence. Just over 25% of the self-employed business owners we surveyed said they were confident people, compared to almost 16% of the employed.

It takes confidence to set your own boundaries – and that’s what small business owners do daily. Take work/life balance as an example. Almost three times as many owners as employees in our survey agreed their job was flexible. Not only that, owners often work a shorter week and nor do many of them work overtime – they might work outside normal “working hours”, but the time they spend working really counts.

These people have the confidence to know what’s needed to keep their businesses on the right track. Rather than relying on a rigid nine-to-five set-up that many full-time employees have handed to them, small business owners have the confidence to define their own structure. They don’t need to spend every waking hour worrying that they need to put in more hours to get ahead. Instead, they have the poise to figure out what they need to do and when, in order to make their business a success.

“It takes certain qualities to be a great small business owner and those qualities should be applauded”

You’re a natural leader

If you run your own business, it might not come as a surprise to know that strong leadership is a quality shared by small business owners across the country. In our survey, almost 15% of small business owners said they were natural leaders, with just 10.5% of employed people claiming the same.

Often, small businesses are made up of very small teams. If the business owner wants to get the most out of his or her staff, they need to be a motivator, a people-manager, and a goal-setter all rolled into one – and that’s where your natural persuasion and trailblazing attitude comes into its own.

“It takes certain qualities to be a great small business owner and those qualities should be applauded and supported,” says Dave. We couldn’t agree more.

As a small business owner, do you recognise these qualities in yourself? Or maybe you haven’t given a lot of thought to what makes you successful as a person? Either way, it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back. It’s not easy starting your own business, so if you have, you clearly possess a set of qualities that should be both celebrated and cherished.