Persistence and entrepreneurial success

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University of New Brunswick


OBJECTIVE: Use empirical evidence on founder traits and behavior to test the hypothesis that persistence is a valuable attribute for entrepreneurs and analyze the forms in which persistence is most impactful. PARTICIPANTS AND PROCEDURES: A sample of 157 entrepreneurial founderowners completed an online questionnaire about the state of their business and past business success, and a persistence behavior quiz, 63 of which also completed the TCI-140 personality assessment measuring levels of trait persistence, and sub traits eagerness of effort, work hardendness, ambition, and perfectionism. Results were analyzed to determine correlations between persistence trait scores, persistence behavior, and entrepreneurial success (past and present). RESULTS: Persistence trait had a curvilinear relationship with entrepreneurial success, where those with extreme persistence (scoring above 85% of the population) had less success than those trending towards above average (60-80% of the population). The dominating sub trait scores for successful entrepreneurs were eagerness of effort and ambition while dominating sub trait scores for failed entrepreneurs were work hardendness and ambition. The dominating trait combination eagerness of effort and ambition were further correlated with a behavior tendency of goal persistence, while the dominating trait combination of work hardendness and ambition were correlated with response persistence. Goal persistence behavior was more common in successful entrepreneurs while response persistence behavior was more common in failed entrepreneurs. CONCLUSIONS: Results should be investigated across a larger sample size to improve confidence; however, if they hold true implications for entrepreneurs to foster goal based persistence and be wary of the assumption that more persistence is always better or that work hardendness alone pays off.