Running a startup business can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. And risky. It’s a fact that most new companies fail within the first five years of operation. Here are some ways in the formative weeks and months of starting a new business to increase your odds of success over the long term:

Assemble a diverse team. Innovation isn’t easy. You’ll need a wide range of opinions and talents to keep you on the cutting edge. As you build your core team, avoid ‘yes’ men or women and instead choose a mix of personalities who will do as much challenging as they do reinforcing. Resist the temptation to hire people who think exactly like you do. When hiring key employees from large companies, make sure they have an entrepreneurial mindset. And don’t forget to encourage your employees to come up with new ideas and allow them to take risks.

Become a storyteller. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your business, you’re missing out on an important marketing opportunity. Sell your company in a way that resonates both intellectually and emotionally by telling your story in a compelling way. Work hard to create a compelling story for your business.

Stay focused. Have you ever heard of ‘paralysis by analysis?’ Research shows that many entrepreneurs take too much time to analyze every possible scenario before acting. Others go after every customer they can get instead of narrowing their focus. Don’t let the chaotic nature of running a successful start-up cause you to lose focus. It’s one of the most important qualities of successful entrepreneurs.

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