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John Ambrose, SVP of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft Courtesy of Skillsoft
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3 ways to keep your startup from failing

May 12, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?” is by John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.

Building a business may start with a new idea, but if you want your business to succeed you’ll need some pretty talented people to help you along the way . Entrepreneurs face a lot of difficult decisions in the early stages of a venture, but the fate of your company will ultimately depend on two things: who you hire and the culture you create.

Be selective when hiring
How and who you hire is equally, if not more important, than the success of your product or service . As a leader, you set an example for others to follow and who you choose to hire implies the type of culture you wish to create, so surround yourself with smart, enthusiastic talent. Your company culture can be a significant competitive differentiator as you grow your organization. It can also help you attract the right employees-- those who reflect and embody the values and mission of your organization. Not only will this shared cultural fit lead to more engaged and driven employees, it will also help you build long-term employee/employer partnerships.

Invest in your team
When building a team, think about how you hope to see it develop in the future . This includes making sure your employees receive the appropriate training necessary for them to successfully do their jobs. You want to provide skills and knowledge that will enable them to grow in their role and become an asset to the company . And becoming a valuable team member isn’t something that can be taught with a few training videos--it requires a deliberate investment in cultivating the right collaborative qualities and mentoring the people who have the potential to drive your business forward.

Focus on your culture
From day one, it is important to instill a culture of collaboration, learning, and continuous development in your company. It may be difficult to focus on anything more than what is directly in front of you as you get a company off the ground, b ut find time to nurture a positive work environment. The talent you hire needs to know who they can turn to for professional development and the tools available to them. If your people know that you are investing in them as individuals, they’ll be far more likely to pay it forward.

Often the fear of failing can cloud an entrepreneur’s decision making. They’ll work long hours to get their business off the ground and staff up quickly as it takes off. But if the end goal is to set yourself up to thrive long-term, then no choice you make will be more important than putting the right people around you at the right time. Success doesn’t come over night and rarely is it achieved alone. Invest smartly and you will see the benefits returned to you with interest.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?

6 things every new entrepreneur should know by Erin (Mack) McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG.

Why this CEO believes an MBA is worthless by Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora.

How much would you sacrifice to start your own business? by Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Social.

4 secrets behind a successful startup by Veenu Aishwarya, CEO of AUM LifeTech.

How this startup failed (twice) and still found success by Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam.

Are you resilient enough to start your own business? by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

The most important lesson I learned as a tech CEO by Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee.

How to avoid a startup failure by Jim Yu, CEO and co-founder of BrightEdge.

3 things to consider before starting your own business by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of Scripted.com.

4 ways to persuade people to join your startup by Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam.

GoDaddy CEO’s 5 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs by Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy.

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