No two business founders are the same. While media stories abound with go-getting, risk-it-all entrepreneurs who launch global industries off the back of visionary ideas, the reality for most business owners is very different.
From extroverted entrepreneurial genius-types such as the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to the more introverted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, business owners display a wide range of personality types.
Are you more practical, willing to roll up your sleeves and happier when you’re active? Perhaps you’re more the quiet academic type, happiest researching and crunching data? Or you could be the life-and-soul of the party, thriving in company and a real people person? Whatever your personality type and work preference, there’s a business idea that is a good match for your personality type.
Read our guide to the six traits of successful start-up business owners.
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What type of start-up personality are you?
There are many ways science classifies personality types. These are often based on behaviours and attributes, such as how open-minded you are, whether you’re extroverted or introverted, and whether you prefer working with numbers or taking a more creative approach. From Meyers-Briggs to the more accessible Merrill-Reid personality profiles, science has been routinely collating people into types for decades.
Your personality preference simply means you prefer to do things a certain way, work best in certain sectors and thrive in specific types of relationship. Your preferences can also be a clue to the type of start-up business that would be a good fit for you – from an analytical role such as a market research consultant to a more extroverted people-centric role such as an events organiser or social media influencer.
If you’re stuck brainstorming an idea for your start-up, take a look at yourself, how you prefer to work, and your personality, to help chart a course to launching a business that best fits who you are as an individual.
People with a strong creative personality tend to be energising, independent thinkers and display high levels of precision and persistence, according to research in Scientific American. Creative-led businesses are in high demand, where firms can help other businesses with branding, marketing and innovative thinking in developing new products. Creative businesses are popular with consumers looking for everything from books and artwork to interior design and family photography.
Creative start-up ideas: Marketing and creative agency, photography studio, home furnishing and interiors, jewellery and cake making.
Supportive personalities perform best interacting one-on-one and in relaxed environments and are extremely people-oriented, able to empathise with other people and more attuned to relationships. Supporters are more laid-back and relaxed and able to step back from a situation and take time to look at the bigger picture. Sectors that enable others – from teaching to counselling – are attractive, with a significant level of satisfaction in helping others achieve their goals.
Supportive start-up ideas: Tutoring services, life and career coaching, counselling, relationship therapy, caring services such as childcare.
People with extensive experience but who prefer to work alone in a one-on-one or one-on-many capacity fall into the advisor camp. Different from supporters, advisors are good at helping others with complex issues and problems. Good at listening, they excel at explaining things clearly and are excellent communicators. Advisors tend to work best in a professional capacity, sharing expertise on a project basis.
Advisor start-up ideas: Management or marketing consulting, personal financial services, compliance services, online dating consultant.
If you find yourself immersed in the latest technology trends and the go-to person to fix computer problems or sort out home networking issues, you may be happiest in the IT and tech sector. Technical personalities enjoy understanding complex topics and are systems and process focused. Comfortable with data, they are also good at recommending solutions to others.
Technical start-up ideas: IT repair services, web and app developer, systems and telephony, technology shop owner, e-commerce store owner.
If the thought of being stuck at a desk, selling products to customers or being trapped in meetings with clients fills you with dread, you may have a more active personality. Active personalities are always on the go, prefer outdoor pursuits and are happy to work no matter the weather. Motivational, collaborative, hardworking, and encouraging, active personalities can be inspirational business leaders who bring high energy levels to their start-up and are good at developing teams.
Active start-up ideas:Personal trainer, gym owner, outdoor adventure services, dog walkers, gardening and grounds maintenance, rural businesses such as agriculture and livestock farming.
Co-operative, effective, efficient as well as sensitive to the needs of others, administrative personalities are good at ensuring day-to-day decision-making and business processes work as well as possible, according to research by the Harvard Business Review. If you’ve skills such as fluency in a foreign language, administrators are good at businesses that require rigorous processes and outcomes, such as translation services and technical manual proofreading.
Administrative start-up ideas: Virtual assistant, translator, proofreading, data entry, bookkeeping, customer or business research.
People tend to fall into two camps: introverted or extroverted. According to Walden University, introverted personality types account for around 40% of people, with a focus on internal feelings. Introverts steer clear of the limelight with a low-key personality and instead focus on being good listeners, being more considered in their approach, thinking more deeply, and relying on data and evidence to make decisions. Introverted people generally thrive in start-ups that require concentration and creative thinking rather than people-facing businesses.
Introverted start-up ideas: Blogger, writing and copywriting, technical writing, graphic designer, pet care such as dog walking, gardening and landscaping, crafting and online tutoring.
Extroverts are the opposite of introverts and draw their energy from engaging with other people and from social settings. Outgoing, optimistic and flexible, extroverts can be more impulsive and less able to work well alone but are willing to take more risks. Extroverts enjoy group settings and the limelight – they do well in businesses that involve presenting, selling, meeting, and dealing with the public.
Extroverted start-up ideas: Estate agent, business sales, event planning, restaurant and cafe owner, hairdressing, public relations, retail, children’s party entertainer.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur. Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurial behaviour
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, marketing, project management, management and leadership.
Disclaimer: While we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.