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Big brother knows best

Eldest children are more likely than their younger siblings to start their own company, according to a survey of small business bosses conducted by Barclays Local Business.

The survey revealed that 41 per cent of UK entrepreneurs are the first born. In comparison, only 27 per cent of respondents admitted to being the baby of the family. However, there is no evidence to suggest that an entrepreneurial gene runs in the family, as 61 per cent of those questioned do not have another family member who runs their own business.

First-borns are typically characterised as conscientious, organised, responsible, high achievers and competitors, all qualities that are key to the successful running of a business. They also frequently score higher on intelligence and achievement tests in comparison to younger and middle children. Celebrity examples of this trend include Richard Branson, JK Rowling and Tim Campbell, winner of ‘The Apprentice’.

“The survey reveals what many people, particularly younger siblings like myself, may have suspected for a long while - when it comes to taking charge, eldest children are more than happy to be the boss,” says John Davis, marketing director for Barclays Local Business.

“Perhaps the experience of helping to look after younger brothers and sisters early in life is a breeding ground for good management skills, giving our oldest children a head start when it comes to business.”

The survey also found that more than 90 per cent of entrepreneurs have owned more than one business, suggesting that when it comes to being a successful boss of your own company, practice really does make perfect.

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