Personality Traits That Can Kill a Startup

Is your new startup headed for disaster? It could be if you or any co-founders possess personality traits that are known to kill off great business ideas before they have a chance to take hold. Every year, brilliant ideas take physical form as new companies. While most are one-person or tiny family-oriented operations, a good number are small or medium-sized enterprises. The owners hope to launch successfully, build up a loyal customer base, and create a long-term organization that delivers profits year after year.

Unfortunately, when human beings behind the efforts lack essential skills and personal qualities, businesses can be doomed from day one. What sinks them? Startups never get on the right course when their owners are afraid to spend money, have phobias about borrowing necessary capital, flatly refuse to hire employees or take on partners, are too averse to risk, or constantly procrastinate over critical decisions. Here are more details about some of the most common personality traits that can snuff out otherwise successful entrepreneurial ideas.

Fear of Borrowing

Some call it loan phobia, or the undue fear of borrowing money. Sufferers are rarely able to operate businesses. That’s primarily because the huge majority of new companies need an infusion of capital in order to get off to a financially healthy start. Ironically, just about any first-time or experienced owner can take out a small business loan via a quick online application. A few advantages of Accion Opportunity Fund small business loans include the ability to build a credit score for a new company, the chance to buy enough equipment and supplies to level the playing field against experienced competitors, and access to favorable terms through negotiating with prospective lenders.

Fear of Taking on Partners or Employees

One person companies, often called sole proprietorship, are often highly profitable. Accountants, consultants, and medical doctors routinely choose this business model. But it’s instructive to note that even sole proprietors regularly hire assistants, office staff, and other support personnel. The fact is that nearly all founders soon discover that they need others in order to expand operations and earn more money. Individuals who are unable to work with others, take on partners, or hire employees can find themselves against a brick wall. They often reach a point where profits stall out, and it becomes nearly impossible to bring new customers on board.


Misers have an unusual aversion to spending money. In the business world, the trait is anathema because the give and take of spending and earning are part of the DNA of any commercial enterprise. People who are unable to spend the money they earn can have a short, early run of financial success. Soon, they stall out when they refuse to purchase new supplies, outsource essential functions, or pay vendors.


Inaction and procrastination have sunk more entrepreneurial ships than anything else. Operating a profitable entity is about taking action. Of course, there is a lot of planning involved, but the main path to success and long-term profitability is about doing, not thinking. Procrastination is the enemy of action because it gives people false reasons to put things off until later, hence the famous reference to the trait as the disease of tomorrow.

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