How Does Your Company Make Money?

How does your company make money?

This may seem like an obvious question to some but when I was first getting started in my career I had no clue nor did I care. I was there to put in my time and collect a paycheck.  I also had no idea how my job was connected to the company’s financial health, my colleagues’ work, and the marketplace. I did what my boss told me to do, which was type invoices, file the copies, and send them to be proofed. My salary was a reflection of my participation, a whopping $6000 per year! Having just graduated from high school, I was still living at home with my parents and had few expenses. It was the late 1970’s and for me, work was just something I had to do before something bigger came along, like a husband!

Jump ahead three decades and my story and the workplace landscape have changed significantly. I own my own firm and women, who were once denied access to credit, are no longer dependent on their spouses for financial security. One thing that hasn’t changed is the courage, motivation, and willingness to learn in order to succeed how ever one defines success. This I was not willing to do in the early days of my “career” when I was so very young and naive. If you are ready to begin the journey of earning more and moving up you can begin by understanding how your company generates revenue and how you fit into the big picture.

  1. Ask the right questions. Beyond the broad overarching statements like “We are a professional services firm” or “we manufacture auto parts”  it is helpful to ask the who, what, where, when, and why questions of the business. Who are our customers?  Where do we manufacture? What cities do we have a presence in? When is our busy season?  And most important, why do we do what we do? You can bet your firm has decided to do what it does because somehow, someway, it is making money or hoping to.
  2. Determine how you add value to your company’s revenue generating streams. A person adds value to their firm by knowing their strengths (which you alone have been gifted) and using them in greatest service to the world and your firm.  Find your signature strengths at Mine are an appreciation of 1. beauty and excellence; 2. curiosity and interest in the world; 3. forgiveness and mercy; 4. fairness, equity, and justice; 5. Bravery and valor. If I knew then what I know now, I would have made those invoices works of art!
  3. Uncover how your job affects your company’s revenue stream either directly or indirectly.  For example: A friend of mine administers the library at her law firm. Creating a library system where she and the legal staff can find the information they need to win cases is vitally important to the firm’s ability to generate revenue. When the firm wins cases their bottom line is healthier. Yes, librarians still play a vital role in a firm’s win as not all lawyers use electronic search engines! [I’ll reserve comment on the bias against women in support positions for another blog post). Whether you are typing invoices or heading to China to open up a new distribution center think revenue stream and how your job contributes to it.

Once you know your strengths and how your firm earns revenues you can align the two. Get ready to join the ranks of the revenue generators at work! Watch your career and your paycheck rise! Create a course of action to increase your pay without sacrificing your peace of mind or compromising your principals.  Connect with Patty to create a vision for your ideal earnings, uncover obstacles that will stop you from reaching your pay goals, and set a path to the income you desire by aligning it with your company’s money making strategies.

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