Your idea for a new company is great and destined for success. But do you have the right personality to be an entrepreneur? There are certain personality traits that can sabotage even the most fool-proof business plan. Here are 10 traits that can “kill” your new business.
1. Shiny Object Syndrome: Is your attention span lacking? Or maybe you just don’t follow-through well. “The best entrepreneurs have a ton of great ideas. This same gift can also be the downfall of making money from that idea. The moment they start on a new idea, they’re distracted by another. Being focused is key,” notes Jamar Cobb-Dennard, sales recruiter at Outsourced Sales Force.
2. Unethical Mindset: If you participate in unethical practices, it will set the company’s corporate culture. It is best to work in an atmosphere of trust and team playing, not a workplace filled with lies and backstabbing. “An unethical boss is an engine of wealth destruction. In the book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty, Duke University professor, Dan Ariely, notes that people are more likely to cheat or lie if others are cheating or lying. Imagine the domino effect on wealth destruction of an ordinary, harmless unethical role model,” management expert Dr. Kathleen Brush, who has bought and sold five businesses, points out.
3. No Get Up And Go: Laziness can undermine any great idea. A successful entrepreneur has to be willing to use all of his/her energies in getting a startup off and running—and then developing it. “I once asked a struggling entrepreneur how many sales and strategic meetings she was completing weekly. Her answer was 2-3, because she was ‘so busy’. After analyzing her time, we found that she had the capacity to do 10 meetings a week. Her laziness was killing her business,” says Cobb-Dennard.
4. Treating Others Unfairly: Do you pick out certain employees for preferential treatment? Or do you have workers you are harder on? This undermines the spirit of employees. “Bosses that mix up treating employees fairly set a foundation for team conflict,” says Brush, author of The Power of One: You’re the Boss. “How is it that Sam the slacker got the same raise as burn-the-midnight oil Bobby? This strikes a blow to productivity and neuters the ambitions of those employees who are capable of innovations that distinguish companies and create wealth.”
5. Sensitive Skin: Sometimes a boss has to hear criticism or complaints. If you are unopened and sensitive to receiving negative feedback, you will never allow the company to grow and make necessary changes. “Inability to listen to customers’ needs and resistance leads to not connecting with customers,” says relationship specialist and psychotherapist Lisa Brateman.
6. Paralyzed by Overthinking: Being detail-oriented is great, but being frozen by overthinking and analyzing is the downfall for some entrepreneurs. “Analytical business owners can get overwhelmed by the risk associated with the decisions they have to make. Make a pro/con list, and then do something,” offers Cobb-Dennard.
7. Narcissism: Are you blind to your own flaws? Of course, confidence is a must-have in business, but thinking you can do no wrong is disastrous for startups. All new business owners make mistakes but the key is recognizing and rectifying them. If you cannot admit to your mistakes, you can never fix them. “Looking in the mirror and seeing only what you want to see blinds you to many realities. Externalizing responsibility for problems that you could address (whether they are your fault or not), creates a victim mentality which does little to move business forward. Plus, it’s annoying to everyone,” Dr. Wes Crenshaw of Family Psychological Services, LLC.
8. Smell of Desperation: According to Brateman, desperate and needy behavior is another no-no for entrepreneurs. Not only does it show no confidence in your idea, but also a lack of patience to see an idea all the way through especially during the tough startup period.
9. Un-Organized Work Style: Are you unorganized? Is your workspace in disarray? Clients and employees won’t take you seriously if you yourself can’t be organized. How can you keep a company be stable, if the leader can’t get her thoughts or workplace in order? “Workplaces are filled with employees who lack direction because disorganized leaders don’t deliver and manage plans and strategies to guide their teams,” explains Dr. Brush. “What’s the chance of an unguided team maximizing their productivity to create competitively superior innovative widgets? What’s the chance of employees being inspired by a leader who leads like a doormat?”
10. Co-Dependency: A close staff can lead to good teamwork but a staff that is too close is not a good idea. It is a workplace, not a daycare. “Creating a workforce that is personally loyal sounds quaint but acting as if your small business is a family portends all the same dysfunctions in real families,” explains Crenshaw. “Employees should be treated fairly and honestly, but not as if they are your children, brothers or sisters.”