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    How to Ask for a Raise in a Small Business or Family Business

    Asking for a salary increase in a small company or a family-owned business can be very tricky. This is due to the fact that small and family-owned businesses probably don't have policies that govern salaries and pay increases. Most of these organizations have very limited information when it comes to pay rise.

    Have you been working in a small business for a while now feel it’s time to ask for a pay rise? Are you looking for a way to ask for a pay rise in a way that doesn’t seem awkward to your boss or family members? Learn how to ask for a raise in a small business or family business.

    That’s why you need to take a completely different approach when asking for an increment. This Raise Guide article covers the best tips that will make your salary negotiation process easier.

    How to ask for a raise in a small business or family business?

    • Review if you should receive a raise by checking your recent accomplishments and how they have impacted the business
    • Put together a case for asking for a raise
    • Plan your timing to align with fiscal calendars and knowing when to best approach your manager
    • Check how much of an increase to ask for
    • Follow alternatives if your request is turned down

    This article will dive into much deeper detail for how to ask for a raise in a family business or in a small business.

    Before You Ask for an Increase

    In this situation, your network matters more than local salary information. We recommend first asking other employees how they have been getting raises in the company before approaching your boss. Then, you can research on how much other companies pay for a similar position.

    This will give you an idea of where to start your negotiation. This can be done online using salary scale analyzers or by phoning around asking recruitment agencies for the salary averages for your role.

    1. Review Your Worthiness

    Before going to ask for a raise from your boss, you need to know your worth and what you’ve achieved recently. If you’ve always been reporting to work late and leaving early without hitting your daily targets, you’re likely not going to receive a pay rise.

    On the other hand, if you’ve always met deadlines and exceeded your managers’ expectations, then asking for a salary increment could be justified. Showing your value is one of the best ways to prepare asking for a raise.

    Answer the following questions honestly will guide you appropriately:

    • Do you fulfill your assigned roles exactly as they’re or you often go an extra mile of taking on extra roles and challenges?
    • Have you been handling more and more roles over the months/years?
    • Are you always focused and punctual?
    • Are you always helpful and positive about your job or you’re often complacent?
    • Has anyone else in your department successfully negotiated for a salary increment? Why and how did they do it?
    • Do you have the required skills and experience in case you’re given more responsibilities?

    The answers to these questions will either boost your confidence for a pay raise or inform you on whether you should have a pay raise. These are the first questions you should be asking if you’re wondering how to ask for a raise in a small business.

    2. Gather Evidence

    If you’re confident about your performance and you know that you really deserve a pay rise, then you should start gathering evidence. This doesn’t mean that you should start interrogating your colleagues and spying on them though. We mean you should take your time and pull together a valid case that will help you validate your request for a pay rise.

    As much as you think your efforts to go an extra mile and take on extra roles are always noticed, your boss may often be too busy to notice the small things. Especially things that may be out of your job description. It’s up to you to bring them up and make him or her aware of it.

    You can start by listing all of your achievements since you joined the organization and how they have helped the business. These achievements may include:

    • Working extra hours to meet critical deadlines (as long as you weren’t procrastinating)
    • Exceeding your weekly, monthly or quarterly sales targets
    • Gaining great feedback from clients
    • Creating a new policy or process for the team that has boosted its performance

    You can also ask your fellow employees for their views on your performance. In most cases, an outsider will give you a better perspective of what you are compared to what you think of yourself.

    Be careful of listing many smaller tasks as evidence of you doing more, like making bank runs, or checking paperwork. In many family businesses and small businesses, there are only so many people to distribute the workload, and everyone does extra work. Your extra achievements or accomplishments should directly relate to growing the company.

    Watch-Out: In family businesses, consider the impact your siblings, cousins or extended family members will have on the decision.

    Especially in family businesses, your raise increase could be determined or influenced by others. For example, if your siblings have equal ownership, the owner may not be willing to give you a raise without increasing your siblings’ pay. It may be better to ask for other company perks besides a pay raise.

    In other situations, the owner of the business may not be the only decision maker. With any family business or small business, there are people who highly influence decisions. These people could be the owner’s spouse or a sibling.

    When preparing your case and gathering evidence, consider how it will be viewed by these influencers too.

    3. Get Your Timing Right!

    Timing also really matters when asking for a pay raise. Do you remember when you asked your dad for a new toy? Or your mum for a new pair of shoes? Timing was everything then, and it still is. When you want a favor from someone, you should wait until they’re in a good mood.

    Considering your company’s financial position and whether it’s profitable will save you a lot when it comes to salary negotiations. You may also have internal knowledge about a large, upcoming expense. Either ask well before this expense, or wait until after it passes. Financial cycles are crucial for planning your ask.

    You should also consider the time of day and the amount of work your boss has before going for negotiations. Asking for a pay rise first thing in the morning or on a day that he or she has deadlines to meet is a no go. You also shouldn’t ask at 5pm on a Friday either.

    To get the best results, wait for him or her to clear their urgent work. You could also prove your value to the business by playing a key role in bringing that project to a close. After that, you can proceed with your negotiations in an informal midweek meeting after the storm has passed.

    Let’s assume that you did well in your position. Your effort in making sure that the project was successful will still be fresh in his or her mind. This approach makes the ask much more reasonable.

    4. Knowing How Much Is Enough

    Know your worth. This is where your research skills really matter. You can get an idea of how much to ask for by comparing your salary with your colleagues. For a family business or a small business, this is your best bet in asking for a raise. Even similar businesses in the area may have vastly different income streams. For example, if you work for an auto dealership, the company you work for may have more of its revenue coming from car sales, while a dealership nearby may have more of its revenue coming from auto service.

    You could also go online and research on how much you can earn in a similar role elsewhere. However, try not to be over-ambitious by comparing your salaries to big companies. A person with the same job description as yours could be earning double of whatever you’re earning. Don’t forget that you’re working in a small business or family business. The business may not be able to afford extreme figures.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that small and family-owned business may pay less, but you will likely be working for fewer hours which will give you more social benefits.

    Whatever you think is the right amount for you, don’t go into negotiations demanding for a specific amount. By researching well, you’ll have a reasonable salary range to work with, which will keep you confident during the negotiation session.

    5. Avoid Using Cold Emails And Letters When Asking For A Pay Rise

    Your company probably doesn’t have a strict HR process that should be followed when asking for a raise. It likely doesn’t have any process at all. The best way to negotiate for a pay raise is through in an informal meeting, preferably outside the office.

    Arrange a meeting with your boss in a nice café or restaurant and talk about it. If you’re not so socially close with your boss, you could simply request to go for a walk. Being away from the business and in a neutral relaxed environment will make them listen. A place with less distractions will also encourage them to handle your issue with more seriousness.

    It’s important to use the right choice of words. You want to set it in a positive conversation that will result in a fruitful negotiation. Avoid the temptation of threatening to leave if they don’t meet your demands. Any attempts of trying to manipulate your boss emotionally are unlikely to bear any fruits. So simply avoid doing that at all costs. It’s one of the worst mistakes you can make when learning how to ask for a raise in a small business.

    6. What If Your Boss Turns Down Your Request?

    Going for a pay rise doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get it. You should hope for the best while preparing for the worst. This will help in avoiding disappointments in the event that he says no. You can ask him/her about what influenced the decision and reflect on the issues. Its won’t be the end of the world, and it won’t last forever. Maybe your salary increment request was declined because you’re still in the learning curve and you’re still developing new skills. You can ask again for an increment once your skills are fully developed.

    You can ask for non-financial benefits too. These may include training and development at the expense of your company or even allowances and commissions. Read our article on what to do if your pay raise request is denied.

    The Salary Negotiation Process Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward

    Learning how to ask for a raise in a small business is normal. And it’s very normal to ask for more money from your employer, especially if you’ve worked for the company for several years and proven your worth. Whatever the outcome, even if it’s a no, you can always find other ways to make some extra cash for yourself. You can start working part time on some freelance work or grow your skills and apply for a better job with a better salary at the same firm or elsewhere.

    Also note that, if you’re focused on earning more money while you don’t love your job, then a pay raise likely won’t be enough of an increase, and it won’t bring joy back to your job.

    And if you’ve realized that you need to add some skills to justify a pay rise, why not consider enrolling for a short online course? Just how having an advanced degree may give some people an edge, having more training may help you. Just signing up for an online course may be enough to prove to your boss that you’re worthy of an increase and serious about seeing the small business grow.

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