It might be time to shelve one of the most common stereotypes about entrepreneurs and how they operate: namely, that start-up founders are crazy risk takers. New research from the United Kingdom suggests they are more cautious than the general population.  

In a study of 250 British entrepreneurs, 52% described themselves as having one of three risk-averse character traits--wary, prudent, or deliberate. Psychological Consultancy Limited and the Association of Business Psychologists for global insurance company AXA conducted the study.

A mere 3.6% reported adventurous characteristics, compared to 12.8% of 2,000 individuals in the general public.

The entrepreneurs surveyed fell into three different business categories: limited companies, sole traders, or partnerships. Sole traders tended to be more carefree and spontaneous while those in partnerships were most likely to be wary, prudent, and composed.

"Although [the results] demonstrate a contradiction to general perceptions around 'what makes an entrepreneur?,' we welcome the fact that business owners are more measured and calculated in their approach," Darrell Sansom, managing director of AXA Business Insurance, told the Financial Times.

The study suggested that those who are calm, confident, optimistic, organized, methodical, and measured have greater financial resources and therefore could be more successful as business owners.