Does personality type predict business success?

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When my business was just a fledgling one, I used to encourage anyone with even a fleeting idea, that they should start their own business.

But a few years later, I realised that not everyone was cut out to run a business. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure why, and felt a bit arrogant, implying that I had the right skills and someone else didn’t.

Now I realise that it is far more to do with personality, than skill or talent, although these do also play a (less) important part.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a well-known personality test, measuring four pairs of personality preferences: Introversion (I) versus Extraversion (E); Sensing (S) versus Intuiting (I); Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F); and Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P). Research has shown that five (of a possible 16) personality types are more likely to be self-employed.

That’s not to say you can’t run a business if you are not one of those! But there are some strengths that are overlapped in all five of those identified personality types:

They are curious

They love to look for better ways of doing things and cannot help but imagine potential where others may not see it. Learning is not a chore and they seek solutions to problems.

They are creative

Not necessarily in an artistic sense, but in their ability to create and build something and in sensing opportunities. They are innovative, move forward with new strategies, and rail against the notion that things are done ‘because they’ve always been done that way’.

They take on responsibility

They are not simply people with a great idea who delegate the tasks and responsibilities to others. They often feel personally responsible and use this to create a sense that they are in control of their destiny.

They make decisions and choose without regret

In various ways, they work steadily towards a goal, strategically and systematically. They start even if they think they might fail, understanding that risk is required to initiate something great.

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