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Taylor Halverson, October 28, 2016

What must you do to “become indispensable at work by bringing in more money than you cost”? Here are 5 ways to be star:

Behavior 1: Regularly propose cost-cutting ideas that work.

Behavior 2: Regularly propose revenue-producing ideas that work.

Behavior 3: Streamline company processes to save time and money.

Behavior 4: Improve personal productivity by increasing work quantity and quality.

Behavior 5: Propose and/or implement procedures to improve the cash flow of the company.

To organize and implement these behaviors create a personal Profit & Loss (P&L) statement. No company hires an individual to cost more than they bring in. Therefore, individuals who have and understand their own P&Ls can use these tools to demonstrate value to their company.

There are two types of personal P&L statements: one for those who directly generate revenue (typically those in sales) and another for those who are not in sales.

A simplified version of a P&L is broken into two categories. At the top of the P&L sheet is “Revenue you bring to your company” followed by “What you cost your company.” At the bottom of the sheet is the estimated profit (or loss) that you represent to the company that sums the difference between “Revenue you bring to your company” and “What you cost your company.”

Use the P&L statement to document and provide evidence of what revenue you bring to your company and what it costs to keep you employed.

Identify how much it costs to employ you (salary, cost of lighting, rent of building, costs of supplies, cost of mistakes you make, etc.). Then identify how much value you bring to the company (what problems have you solved for the company and how much was saved because of each solved problem, what sales have you made, etc.).

If you are a net contributor, use that documented evidence to secure your position or to bargain for new opportunities. And continue to expand your contribution by continually practicing the five behaviors.

If you represent a net loss to your company, it is either time to proactively look for new work or to redouble your efforts to practice the five behaviors.

If you are in sales, increasing your sales success rates is typically the road to an improved P&L and career success.

If you are in a non-sales role, you’ll need to creatively consider your personal profit and loss to the company. For example, let’s say you cost the company $100,000 a year in salary and benefits. In your primary role, you indirectly and positively impact revenue of $95,000. So far you are a net loss to the company. However, if you employ Behavior 1 and discover cost-cutting ideas for the company that work, equaling $30,000, you are now a net contributor to the company to the tune of $25,000.

Your resume should document your successes with each of the behaviors and explicitly document the estimated or actual revenue your behaviors have had on the business.

By practicing these five behaviors and using the personal P&L sheet, you’ll make yourself indispensable.

[The ideas in this article are based on the work of Larry Myler of ByMonday. More is found in his book Indispensable by Monday: Learn the Profit-Producing Behaviors that Help Your Company and Yourself.]