Manchester Metropolitan University

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What makes entrepreneurs tick?

A DRIVE to sell is one of the main factors for entrepreneurs to achieve high growth with their businesses, new research suggests.

The study offers insight into the core elements that make up business leaders’ ‘mindset’ and identifies how high-growth skills are more likely to have been learned than exist naturally.

The Government-backed Mindset of High Growth report highlights sales and marketing as the foremost factors in helping entrepreneurs to create high-growth companies – defined as an average of 20% annual growth in either turnover or employment over three consecutive years.

Research was compiled by Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) Centre for Enterprise (CfE), with academics surveying 111 businesses and 30 in-depth interviews to establish the six main factors influencing the nature of high growth.

Learned

Dr Tamara McNeill, Research Associate at the CfE, said: "People have long been fascinated by what makes an entrepreneur. Around the middle of the twentieth century there was a quest for the definitive ‘entrepreneurial personality’ but we have seen a shift away from that and researchers have mostly moved on to consider different questions, for example, about how entrepreneurs think, learn and are motivated.

"The Mindset of High Growth study demonstrates the importance of learnt cognitive processes in the ‘high-growth mindset’ such as development of expertise in growing businesses, development of growth intention and the ability to self-regulate decision-making processes."

The six high growth elements:

• Market Expertise is defined as the cognitive processes in growth entrepreneurs being geared towards making sales and marketing - the leading factor from the report.

• Business Vision is when business leaders have a clear strategy and the ability to visualise and plan

• Active Decision-making is the ability to adapt thought to minimise risk, and draw on the influence of other people and formal processes

• Growth Drive is classed as having the distinct aspiration of wanting to grow a business

• Sales Drive is a strong drive and passion to achieve sales – often considered a ‘given’ for many entrepreneurs

• Innovation Drive is being able to sense new opportunities, markets, products and services.

MMU’s CfE was commissioned for the research by the Business Growth Service, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The aim of the report is to foster a greater understanding of the personal factors associated with achieving business growth. Log on to the Mindset of High Growth website for more information.

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