The top 20 personality traits crucial for business success

AXA offers support for startup businesses to help ease the concerns and stressesAXA offers support for startup businesses to help ease the concerns and stresses
AXA offers support for startup businesses to help ease the concerns and stresses | copyright

Business owners believe you need passion, relentlessness and a willingness to take risks to survive the cut-throat world of being an entrepreneur.

A poll of 500 SME owners and sole traders also found having self-belief, determination and an ability to sell are all crucial for success.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Being hard-working (48 per cent), motivated (44 per cent) and organised (42 per cent) were the top three personality traits you need, according to those polled.

Career expert Sarah Berry, who has spent more than 30 years analysing the personality traits of successful business owners also said sales skills, a sense of purpose and a willingness to take action are key – along with resilience, adaptability and flexibility.

She said: “Unless you take action, you won’t do anything. Any action is better than no action.

“People often say ‘I’m worried about making a mistake’. That’s not really important because you’ve got to take action, even if it doesn’t turn out how you want it to.

“You can always change and you’ll get there in the end.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The research was commissioned by AXA UK to mark the launch of its Startup Angel Competition which is supporting small businesses by giving them the chance to win £25,000 worth of funding, along with mentoring.

It also revealed a potential untapped source of opportunity for small British businesses, with 27 per cent of SME owners and sole traders claiming to have a million-pound business idea – but don’t know how to make it a reality.

And 88 per cent of those said this idea is linked to the industry they’re working in.

Sarah Berry added: "People tend to start their own business or make a drastic career decision when they are in a position of pain.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We often talk about these decisions as coming from a positive place, like ‘I want to be my own boss,’ and the benefits that that statement entails. 

“What we should really be doing is confronting this pain. Pains like ‘I don’t have enough time,’ ‘I’m feeling burned-out’ or ‘I don’t feel good about some of the elements of the corporate world.’”

The survey paints a positive picture of the UK economy from the perspective of small business owners, with 77 per cent believing that starting their small business was one of the best decisions they have ever made.

However, with hindsight, 35 per cent of SMEs wish they did not start their business any earlier than when they did, due to learning more about the job they are doing (30 per cent) and taking the time to save up capital (26 per cent).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It also emerged that despite the economic uncertainty, 66 per cent remain upbeat about the future of their business, and 58 per cent feel they have achieved their main business goal.

The main opportunities for the next 12 months are seen as clients returning as the economy stabilises (21 per cent), introducing new products or services (20 per cent) and acquiring new domestic clients (19 per cent).

But the biggest challenges for their business include inflation (31 per cent), increasing fuel and energy costs (24 per cent) and rising cost of materials (20 per cent).


As a result, the top safeguarding measures businesses, polled via OnePoll, have in place include additional personal savings (43 per cent), savings from their business (37 per cent) and business insurance (30 per cent). 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Deepak Soni, director of SME business insurance for AXA UK, said: “This year continues to present challenges for SMEs with inflation a growing concern.

“However, it’s encouraging to see two-thirds of those we surveyed feel upbeat about their business prospects and this has increased by almost five per cent from last year.

“SMEs prove year on year how tenacious and determined they can be, so it comes as no surprise being hardworking and motivated are the top skills needed for success.

“With self-belief moving closer to the top of required skills, it’s essential that we rally around business owners and support their growth and development.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“With this in mind, I'm proud to see the AXA Startup Angel Competition in its third year as we search for another six deserving businesses to support with invaluable mentorship from some of Britain's best entrepreneurs as well as 12 months of business insurance.

Top 20 personality traits crucial for business success

1. Hard working

2. Motivated

3. Organised

4. Self-belief

5. Resilient

6. Determined

7. Confident

8. Driven

9. Good time management

10. Open to change

11. Passionate

12. Focused on achieving goals

13. Budget-conscious

14. Multi-tasker

15. Intelligent

16. Willing to take risks

17. Decisive

18. An ability to sell

19. Good leader

20. Relentless