To test the hypotheses, entrepreneurs who possessed a given pattern were compared, as to their subsequent success, with other entrepreneurs in the sample who had no pattern score high enough to exceed the cutting points. Thus, entrepreneurs with and without the specified pattern served as criterion groups. Understand, however, that those who possessed a given pattern, and thus could be identified as of a particular type, often possessed other strong patterns as well. Thus, the differences observed cannot be attributed entirely to the particular pattern noted.

Table 2 presents the results. All four of the personality patterns are associated with success levels which far exceed those for the entrepreneurs without any strong pattern. The results for the complex entrepreneur measures, however defined, are equally convincing. There can be no doubt that personality factors are associated with subsequent entrepreneurial success and that the four patterns hypothesized operate in this manner.

Several other points should be noted. Of the 11 entrepreneurs with little evidence of success who had no strong pattern, 8 were still with their firms but barely surviving; leaving entrepreneurship for other endeavors was more characteristic outside this group. Recession effects were also more evident among the entrepreneurs with no strong pattern, not a surprising finding. But they were also more evident among the empathic supersalespeople. Apparently this type of entrepreneur is not only different from the others, but more vulnerable to economic downturns as well.

Table 3 presents the evidence on the relationship between the number of strong personality patterns possessed and subsequent success. The data clearly support the hypothesis. The figures in the column farthest to the right show a steady progression with those who have no strong pattern having 0 percent of their members in the "Substantial Evidence of Entrepreneurial Success" category and those who possess three (or in one case four) strong patterns having 78 percent of their members in that category.

Level Of Subsequent Entrepreneurial Success Attained By People
Possessing Various Numbers Of Key Entrepreneurial
Personality Patterns

Number of Key Entrepreneurial Personality



Little Evidence of Entrepreneurial


N %

Some Evidence of Entrepreneurial


N %

Substantial Evidence of Entrepreneurial Success

N %



11 52 10 48 0 0



3 10 20 65 8 25



2 9 11 48 10 43

3 or 4

9(2) 0 0 2 22 7 78

Chi-square=34.14, df=6, p<.001

*Numbers in parentheses indicate additional cases on which follow-up evidence of success is not available.


The research provides substantial support for the conclusion that personality patterns in an entrepreneur exert a dominant influence on the subsequent success of the entrepreneur’s venture, that four types of personalities operate in this manner, and that possessing a greater number of these patterns contributes to a greater likelihood of success.

Experience in working with entrepreneurs, and with the four-way personality-based model, indicates that each type must follow a particular career route that fits the type in order to reap the benefits inherent in the particular kind of entrepreneurial talent. People must actualize their specific potential, or potentials in the case of complex entrepreneurs.

For personal achievers this means investing a great deal of energy in the business, constantly putting out fires and dealing with crises, wearing many hats depending on which crisis is paramount at the moment, and trying to be good at everything.

For empathic supersalespeople the appropriate route is to spend as much time as possible selling, while getting someone else to handle internal administration and management.

For real managers the appropriate route is to manage a business into major growth, serving as one’s own general manager. To do this people need to find or start a business large enough to require their special managerial talents.

For expert idea generators the appropriate route is to invent new products, find new niches, develop new processes, and generally establish a way to outthink the competition. These people need to innovate, think their way through situations, and become visionaries for their firms.

There is a need for professionals who can provide valid career guidance based on the four-way typology, helping people to follow an appropriate route and to avoid diverting their energies to activities for which they have no talent. This matter of defining career routes and focusing energies appropriately is considered at length in a forthcoming book on the four routes to entrepreneurial success (Miner, 1996).

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Last Updated 4/27/97 by Germaine Wong

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