I was coaching a client the other day, a guy who started his company a long, long time ago. Over the last couple of years in his business, he’s hit a real plateau, and I’ve been trying to coach him through it.

“Think back when you started the business,” I said once, “when it was just you. How did you tackle it when you ran into an obstacle in your business? Did you get excited about problems? Or did they drain you?”

His response? “I love problems! The bigger the better! I always knew if I could solve my customers’ problems and make their lives better, then I could have anything and everything I ever wanted.”

That’s a smart business owner. So I told him: “I want you to close your eyes and I want you to go back thirty years. It’s just you. You are the business. And I want you to think of the biggest problem that you have right now in your company, and I want you to think exactly as you would have thought about that thirty years ago.”

And guess what happened? He had a breakthrough in his mindset. “I’ve become complacent!” he said. “I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. I have to change. I have to start thinking and acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur! And I have to lead my people with the courage and belief that problems are our greatest opportunities.”

As a coach, I couldn’t agree more. Run to the problem, for that is your biggest future in the success of your business.

Where is your mindset today? If you’re looking for a turnaround, click here to schedule a free thirty-minute coaching session.

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If you’re like every other small business owner, you’re thinking about the money, the budget, the capital of your business 80% of the time. And that’s a good thing. But what are you really thinking? Are you thinking about it as a tool? Are you thinking how every dollar can be put to work to make three dollars?

Most importantly: Are you actively soliciting the input of your whole team about whether or not that dollar needs to be spent? Could it be spent in a different way? As a small business owner, you might be coaching a small team — and a small team is sometimes the toughest source to hear criticism from. Are you open to that kind of feedback? Because as one person said a long time ago: I only know what I know. And that’s a scary thing.

You have all these brilliant people that you’ve hired. These employees could know, understand, and have insights that could positively impact your bottom line in ways that you’ve never even imagined! You’re already investing in them in the payroll. Why not tap into their brilliance about what they know? And how money could be invested as a return in your business? Your money should be working for you. Your team has ideas for how. Ask them.

And if you really want to take your leadership skills to the next level, download our free book on employee engagement.

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For most businesses and companies, their greatest investment year in and year out is in their payroll. If you’re like most business owners, you think of that payroll and see those people as a cost.

The way we use the word ‘cost’ immediately has a negative connotation. We see these people as what they’re not doing, or being, or delivering for us; we might even see them as a potential liability down the road. So we’re always looking at payroll as a problem. But the conflict arises when we realize: without them, we cannot achieve our hopes, dreams or aspirations for our business! So today I challenge you with a different way of thinking about your employees: What if you thought of your employees like any other investment?

Think about it. If you bought a commercial building, well, before you ever signed the paperwork you’d already have calculated the return. Wouldn’t you? You’d anticipate and be actively looking for ways to increase the return on that investment, every day, all the time. So my thought for you to ponder on this subject is: Why aren’t you doing that with your employees right now?

If you did that, and had a simple, systematic way to adjust how you thought about them — so you could see your employees as an investment instead of a cost — what would that be worth to you in profit, in peace of mind, and for the culture of your company, over the next three years? Want to make a game plan?

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time management

For every business owner, down to a man, the greatest scarcity in their life is time. Every day ends with a longer to do list then the day before! This becomes a spiraling source of stress event that gets worse and worse — every day, every week, every month, every year. Once the business grows and becomes more successful, this problem actually accelerates!

So how can we get back control of time in our business?

The first thing to do is to recognize that time is our single most valuable asset. It’s more important than money, than product or service, than our customers and even our employees — because, the truth is, we can always get more of all that other stuff. But no one can ever get more time. So the question becomes: Are we really looking at time as an investment, like everything else in our business? Or are we ignoring it?

For 99% of CEOs, leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, they’ve never given this much thought. Which means it becomes a bigger and bigger stress and problem. Very few leaders think of time the way you’d think of an annual budget, or consider it the way you’d consider how you’re going to scale employees, or discuss it the way you’d discuss improving your product or service. Which means in our Portland business coaching programs, we see time and time again the same thing: the entrepreneur who might have a successful business, but who also has a mounting feeling of time stress — there’s burnout, there’s frustration, it shows up in poor relationship with employees, it even follows you home at night to your family and children! Whether you realize it or not, in your heart and soul there’s a clock ticking — and this clock stops for no business.

SO: What we love to talk about in our coaching is this: look at time as a tool. Actually think about it, plan for it, and ask the right questions. Start seeing time as the greatest asset in your business, instead of the biggest problem.

How you invest your time will decide the success or failure of your business five years from today. I’m giving some away for free right now — so click here if you want some support.

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