An Entrepreneur Typology

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been showcasing the standout results of our seminal Entrepreneurial Britain research project. Having already delved into the motivations that drive entrepreneurialism and unpacked the struggles and sacrifices involved in being your own boss, this week we investigate the different typologies of the entrepreneur becoming an increasingly essential contributor to the UK’s economic growth and social progress.

To explore the personality traits and typologies that may lead to a higher propensity of people becoming an entrepreneur we conducted a series of online interviews using standardised questions from the BIG5, or five factor model of personality. The results of this initial survey revealed UK entrepreneurs tended towards introversion, reason, perfection, hard work and empathy while having vivid imaginations and being able to think in the abstract.

However, in addition to broad personalities, we wanted to explore the idea that there are different kinds of entrepreneurs within society.  In order to do this, we conducted a cluster analysis to segment our entrepreneurs based on their motivations and attitudes to life and personality.  We found four, distinct clusters of entrepreneurs:

  1. The Young Innovators
  2. The Revitalised Tycoons
  3. The Natural Entrepreneur
  4. The Time-Honoured Traditionalists

Each of these groups have different motivations, personality traits and media habits and understanding these can help us to target these groups more successfully.

The Young Innovators

The Young Innovators are the smallest, youngest segment, with a large proportion of females who are more willing to take risks to develop their business and establish themselves as key players in the business world using the help of social media.The Young Innovators

The Revitalised Tycoons

The Revitalised Tycoons are more likely to be middle-aged, with a slight bias towards females.  They are relatively experienced and have held other positions.  They now believe that forging their own path as an entrepreneur is the way forward.

Revitalised Tycoons

The Natural Entrepreneurs

The Natural Entrepreneurs are a mature segment with a male skew. They have a natural entrepreneurial flair and have experienced hardship on their journey but still believe that the road to success is an exhilarating experience. They are motivated and believe that the main barriers to their success are external to them.

Natural Entrepreneur

The Time-Honoured Traditionalists

The Time-Honoured Traditionalists are the biggest group within our sample and also the most senior.  They are more likely to be male and older.  Their high levels of confidence are backed by their life experience and, having become dissatisfied with their previous career, have set up on their own to develop something of their own.

Time-Honoured Traditionalists

 

In conclusion, our research demonstrates the distinctive personality of the UK entrepreneur – they are organised, controlled, but with a tendency towards imagination and creativity.  Entrepreneurs are not flaky, but (like the rest of the population) are more introverted than extroverted.  They are empathetic and emotionally stable and their motivations for setting up a business are much more complex than just the accumulation of wealth.

We also found our new breed of entrepreneurs can be segmented into four broad groups, all with slightly different motivations and challenges, and each of these will present very different opportunities to those brands which work in the business to business sector.

Ultimately, though, only through understanding entrepreneurs as people rather than as businesses, can we hope to produce communications and marketing that really resonates with them.

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Joe Wilson

With a background in Psychology, Joe has an intrinsic interest in what makes people tick: relishing the challenges and intricacies of interpreting how and why consumers behave in the way they do, and turning this into actionable insight.

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