Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

By Hugh Massie, founder and CEO of DNA Behavior International 

Like me, many of you instinctively knew that you had a strong desire to start a business and then at some point, the right innovative idea came along and in you jumped. Along the way, the entrepreneurial journey turned out much harder than you had expected—both emotionally and financially.

Having built five businesses over the past 21 years, one principle I stick to is the ability to manage my own behavior. Then add managing the behavior of the team, and you have the primary difference between success and failure. Did I always just know this, or where did I learn it? It begs the question, are entrepreneurs born or made?

At DNA Behavior International we extensively researched the subject of Entrepreneurial Genetics using our validated Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Process as the foundation. Our analysis that a person is born with entrepreneurial genes is supported by other similar findings in academic research and studies. However, being genetically predisposed toward entrepreneurialism doesn’t guarantee that an entrepreneur’s journey won’t be without challenges.

Our research concludes that entrepreneurs who have built a business with over US$1 million in turnover will have the following genes (natural “hard-wired” behavioral traits) in descending order of dominance:

  1. Resilience – achieves results, manages setbacks and rationally takes quick action.
  2. Risk Taker – confidently takes risks and tolerant of losses.
  3. Creativity – innovative with ideas and seeks to differentiate.
  4. Work Ethic and Focus – pursues goals and is often ambitious and competitive.
  5. Charisma – ability to influence people to follow them, often having a balance between being outgoing and reserved.

These genes are more pronounced for those entrepreneurs who have built businesses with a turnover of more than US$10 million. For the fast-growing number of women who are becoming entrepreneurs, the tendency for them is to be more moderate in the above-listed traits. However, they compensate with their natural ability to build stronger relationships.

Entrepreneurs must be multifaceted and dynamic, yet laser sharp and narrowly focused. Their many duties require a uniquely talented character, but differences in personality and perspective can determine success or failure. It is not surprising, therefore, that the number-one genetic trait of an entrepreneur is resilience, as this is foundational to survival in life and business.

Hugh Massie is an EO Atlanta member and an EO Global Board Member. 

Since 1987, EO has been transforming the lives of the entrepreneurs who transform the world. Learn what it’s like to join the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs.

Categories: Coaching Entrepreneurial Journey

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