Why are some businesses founders more successful than others?

Are the things which make entrepreneurs successful the same as those that make people successful in any walk of life?

Can you develop your entrepreneurial attributes?

People have been pondering these questions for more than a century but it is only the last fifty that we have been carrying out rigorous scientific studies of entrepreneurs… and the jury is still out. Loads of attributes have been put forward and found to be related to entrepreneurial success; these include having a strong internal locus of control, need for autonomy, need for achievement, being an extrovert, being conscientious… BUT, there are a couple of problems. Firstly, there are really significant exceptions; for instance, although most successful entrepreneurs are extroverts there are plenty who aren’t. Secondly, results found in one study are often not repeated in another; and thirdly there has been no meaningful longitudinal research in the psychology on entrepreneurs.

Our Research Vision

Our research vision is to create the first global longitudinal research project into the psychology of entrepreneurs so that we can work out if there are common characteristics, whether they are different for different types of business, in different countries, for different age groups.

This a big project which will take at least five years to complete and our first step is this study on Entrepreneurial Psychological Capital which we have chosen because we want to create something which will be useful for participants.

Being told you are an introvert and that most successful entrepreneurs are extroverts is positively unhelpful – even being told you are an extrovert isn’t exactly useful because introversion / extroversion is a fairly fixed part of your personality.

Instead, we are focussing on things which you can do something about.

The idea of positive psychology was put forward by Martin Seligman in 1998 when he took on the presidency of the American Psychological Association.  He had spent most of his impressive career developing psychological models based on people with psychological problems.  His big idea was that there is a vast difference between “not ill” and having great wellbeing.  His ideas have been a major driving force in the mainstream psychology for the last twenty years.

In the early 2000s, Fred Luthans started to explore a model of positive psychology in organisations and found it was important in predicting success.  In 2007, he developed an employee model for psychological capital and since then hundreds of studies have confirmed that:

  1. People with higher Psychological Capital perform better and also have higher wellbeing
  2. That Psychological Capital can be developed

Only a handful of researchers have explored Entrepreneurial Psychological Capital. But, no one has developed a model specifically for entrepreneurs. This is where we come in.

Too much of what founders get taught in books, on courses, in blogs is based on perceptions and guesswork which is not scientifically tested.  It is fine to come up with hypotheses but they must be tested!  My main hypothesis, based on working with 1,000s of business owners, is that the main difference between success and failure is psychological. But, as a research psychologist – I want to test this out.

Development comes from self awareness

Join over 1000 business founders and start to grow!

“The most successful business owners are brave enough to assess and understand themselves. They don’t pride get in the way of a brilliant business…”  – Professor David Johnson

Psychological Capital

Our Entrepreneurial Development Test aims to assess your Entrepreneurial Psychological Capital (EPC): that is, your confidence, resilience, hope, optimism, courage and purpose. Unlike many other tests, a focus on EPC will allow you to discover how open you are to learning and development. Even more so, it will give you a chance to evaluate how successful you are in terms of what is important to you (which is probably more than just money!).


Persevering toward goals and, when necessary, redirecting paths to goals in order to succeed.


When beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back (and even beyond) to attain success.


Having confidence to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks.


Making a positive attribution and expectation about succeeding now and in the future.


The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain without fear.


A person’s sense of resolve or determination to complete a goal.

As well as getting a report on these things it will also allow you to see how you compare with other business founders. The results will be completely confidential and you will not have to share that with anyone.