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A Tale of Two Mindsets: Are Your Employees a Cost or an Investment?

Every business owner has a big dream for their business and wants to make it happen. The problem is, many business owners may not understand what levers to pull in their business to improve overall profitability. As a business owner or CEO, there are hundreds of decisions (big and small) to be made every day and it can be overwhelming to know what’s helping and what’s hurting. 

Awhile back, I had a conversation with a business owner who was experiencing significant growth. He needed to hire 3 sales people to keep up with all the leads that were pouring in. His first question was, “How much is that going to cost me?” Business owners intuitively try to control costs to make money, and people are the biggest controllable expense in a business. However, that question really comes from a fixed mindset. The concern comes from a place where adding people will cut into profits, not add to it. 

I immediately changed the conversation by asking, “What if these people are investments and you’re entitled to a return on the salary investment once the person has been trained and function in the position for a period of time? Would you still view those people as costs?” His answer was no, so I encouraged him to “invest” in the people, not think of them as a cost. 

Fast forward 12 months, this business owner not only committed to investing in the 3 new sales people, but the entire sales team. They did monthly sales training, they had weekly meetings where they talked about their sales pipeline, qualifying prospects and obtaining a commitment to use their products. When the owner looked at just the 3 new sales people, they covered 100% of the owner’s investment and provided about a 20% return above that in the first 12 months. Altogether, the entire sales team grew revenue over 50% last year.   

A fixed mindset looks at people as a cost. A growth mindset looks at people as an investment and the owner should expect a rate of return on any investment. In this case, the return just in the first year was greater than expected. 

Don’t get trapped in a fixed mindset and achieve the same old stuff/different day. Take charge of your future and the future of your business! 

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