There are certain character traits that are common among successful small business owners. I bet you could guess some of the traits I’m referring to, and could make a list right now. In fact, I recently compiled my own list of what I consider to be 10 of the most common character traits of successful small business owners. How many of those match the traits on your list?

Our lists tend to focus on common and desirable character traits found in successful entrepreneurs, but what if we looked at some of the less common (and sometimes less desirable) character traits? I thought it would be interesting to make a list of what I’ll call “B Team” character traits that I have seen in some of the most successful small business owners I know.


Think about the entrepreneurs you know who can laugh at themselves, and make light of tense situations. The ability to see humor in what isn’t exactly an entertaining situation is a powerful trait to have in the high-pressure world of business ownership. Having a funny bone can also be a great way to keep small business stress on a manageable level.


Successful business owners know what they want and usually don’t have qualms about telling their team how to do it. Although this can be a dangerous quality to have because it can edge into micromanagement and sometimes arrogance, the entrepreneur who can be respectfully bossy yet remain hands-off is sure to build a high-performance team.


Whether you have a modest business, or a multi-million dollar enterprise, frugality is always a good quality to have when it comes to long-term financial survival. Not only is the ability to cut costs and save money important in business, but running your business in a way that combats wastefulness is a sure sign of a successful entrepreneur.


It’s not easy to feel sympathy for others, either in business or in general. So it’s a unique entrepreneur who can step outside of his or her own needs and wants, step into the shoes of another and truly care about their struggles. Being compassionate in business can open your eyes to new opportunities, add a powerful charitable focus to your business activities and make you an all-around likable person.


Small business owners who have an eye for detail and an ability to stay focused until the best end result is achieved often produce superior products and services. The danger of being picky is that it can border on an unrealistic perfectionism. As long as a meticulous viewpoint is balanced with the ability to let go, this is a powerful trait to have in business.


I’m not talking about the pig-headed and inflexible kind of stubbornness, but the unyielding and persistent version. Small business success rarely comes easy, so without determination, and yes, just a bit of stubbornness, it may be difficult for entrepreneurs to hang onto their dreams and push themselves to achieve their goals when faced with failure, rejections and other challenges.

What are some of the less favorable but equally effective character traits you have or have seen exhibited in other successful small business owners?

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