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Keeping the Good Ones Around

Are you afraid your key employees are ready to walk? Here's what you can do to keep your most valuable players around.

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This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Every time one of the 46 employees of J.L. Patterson & Associates leaves, the company loses expertise, incurs the expense of hiring a replacement and risks alienating customers who must deal with a new recruit. "It leaves a huge void," says Jacqueline Patterson, 47-year-old founder of the Orange, California, engineering company with $7 million in 2005 sales. "We try to avoid having leave us whenever possible."

is a major concern for entrepreneurs everywhere. In fact, entrepreneurs see it as the single most critical factor for success in 2006, according to Entrepreneur magazine and ' first annual "Entrepreneurial Challenges Survey," which was reported in the January issue of Entrepreneur. Seventy-three percent of the founders and CEOs of 340 fast-growth businesses surveyed said retaining key workers was the biggest issue they faced. The next-ranking issue, developing new products and services, was named most important by only 38 percent of entrepreneurs.

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