What are the best ways to ask for a raise from your boss? A dozen entrepreneurs weigh in with their top tip.
1. Ask. Don’t beg.
“Your boss doesn’t care that your commuting costs went up, that you’re supporting another child, or that your spouse lost her job. Don’t lead with why you need more money. Instead, make a case for how you’ve helped your company become even more profitable. Sure, you may need the money. But make it clear that you also deserve it.”
2. Make a commitment.
“In addition to showing that you deserve a raise due to outstanding past performance, make your boss a few promises about how you will continually improve yourself and your work, so that the company will continue to benefit for years to come. That will show your boss that you will be a long-lasting valuable asset.”
3. Reel in responsibility.
“When your employer has been paying you a certain rate for certain work, it’s natural that she’s going to feel like she needs to be getting more for any raise she offers. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll put in more hours, think in terms of the role you play and where you can take on more responsibility to help the business grow.”
4. Gain some leverage.
“If you make yourself an invaluable part of your company, then you’ll have a lot more leverage in your negotiations. Take on responsibilities that add value and have measurable results. If you can go to your boss and say that you are responsible for huge numbers and possess knowledge that is irreplaceable to the operations of the business then your boss will be forced to pay you to keep you happy!”
5. Make your pitch matter.
“You basically get one shot at asking, either at your annual review or at some moment when you say “enough is enough.” So be prepared to make the pitch count: don’t use words like “I feel” or “I think;” instead, bring to the table a list of projects you worked on, review the value they bring to the company, explain how you to plan to raise your game, and how the work you do pays for itself.”
6. Confidence, not cockiness.
“Always show confidence, but don’t ever act arrogant. Confidence is appealing and shows your boss that you believe in yourself and your skills, and that you are grateful for the opportunity. However, arrogance is a turnoff and will rub your boss the wrong way while also not conveying your inner message–that you care about your boss and want to continue to see the company succeed.”
7. See the pitch differently.
“When you frame the act of asking for a raise as a fun, creative, and confidence-building activity, you put your focus on what you can control–making the ask. Plus, you alleviate nervousness. As a result, when you open your mouth, you are more likely to project confidence, make a compelling argument, and enjoy the experience a whole lot more.”
8. Timing is everything.
“You will increase your chances of success if you ask your boss during an opportune time. Some favorable situations to look for: company releases higher than expected quarterly earnings, public recognition of a job well done, or a situation where your boss is in a good mood.”
9. Remember, it’s a numbers game.
“Hopefully you’re already tracking and measuring everything you do at your job. If so, design an impressive chart or graph that definitively displays the the monetary value you have created for the company. Throw in your current salary and calculate their internal profits from your work. Present this to your boss and strongly state your case.”
10. The 3 p’s: perspective, practice and proactivity.
“Make sure you get a clear understanding of what is important to your boss and to your company. It’s about their perspective–not necessarily yours–when positioning the conversation. Be sure to practice what you are going to say and how you will respond to possible answers. Lastly, be proactive in asking what it takes to get a raise. Go for it.”
11. The respectful ROI approach.
“Be respectful and talk about the ROI you provide to the company. It’s important to understand that your boss has a job to do too, including watching the budget. When discussing a possible raise, make your case objectively and respectfully. Use the numbers and stats to quantify the value you add, but be careful not to force an ultimatum.”
12. Get another offer.
“The bottom line is that you are worth what someone is willing to pay you. The most compelling argument you can make for a raise is that you have other written offer(s) on the table and that you would consider staying if your boss can give you a high-enough counter offer. (Only use this tactic if you are willing to follow through, i.e. leaving or staying based on the strength of the counter offer.)”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
Follow us on Twitter: