People: Investment or Cost?

As a business owner, you’re going to have to deal with people if you want to grow: hiring them, training them, and retaining them.

But are they a cost or an investment?

With costs, your entire goal is to minimize them. There’s a low likelihood that you get a return on costs, and you have little to no control over them.

But investments are things that you want to maximize as a business owner. Investments help you build a better future for yourself and your business.

When I started looking at my team as investments instead of costs, that’s when my thinking changed entirely — and so did our results. 

If you never make this mindset shift in how you approach your people, your business will fall into this dangerous cycle:

Low investment → High turnover → Operational challenges → Decreased revenue

I know this from personal experience, because Crisp was stuck in this cycle back when I viewed my people as costs to be minimized rather than investments to be maximized.

These days, instead of simply trying to buy our team’s love with free lunches and Topgolf outings (which, by the way, doesn’t work), we look for ways to invest in initiatives that will help them become more successful in the long run. This can be in the form of continuing education, book clubs, certifications, and so much more — anything that equips your team to grow and develop their abilities.

Finally, we created individual career paths for every single role in our entire organization. Each person knows exactly what they need to do in order to grow and move into their next role. Clarity is kindness. Ensure your team always knows where they stand, and give them the tools they need to become better than yesterday.

Here’s the bottom line: People quit leaders who devalue them. 

So value your people, invest in them, and watch your business grow.

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