5 Steps to Follow before Asking for a Raise

Money can be tough to come by these days, especially with how the economy has fared for most of the world. Companies suffer tremendously based on the condition of the economy in their respective countries. This has seen companies planning to announce restructuring, a possible buyout or takeover from another company, or worse—filing for bankruptcy. Companies are also busy with their resource management, trying to make numbers rise with their sales and production teams. There are many factors involved that can affect how a company is making money.

Now despite all the possible issues at hand, you have decided it was about time you got a raise. You have decided to be straightforward about it and just outright ask the higher-ups yourself. Asking for money can be a very tough thing to do, and to do so takes guts—or just plain desperation. If you believe what you are getting is not enough, especially when your career goals and personal ambitions cannot be met with the current paycheck you receive each payday, then one must be prepared to take the plunge and do something as terrifying as asking your boss for more money.

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You might think you are ready. Sadly, brave soul, you are not. Even if your bosses are nice and not as intimidating as other bosses, there will still be a feeling tugging at your nerves that makes you hesitant. There will always be hesitation involved, and you would do well to be hesitant.

You are risking a lot by asking for a raise. You could blow your opportunity away, an opportunity that costed you months of hard work. You will need to be mentally prepared, you need to be thorough, and you need to be able to properly convey to your boss your perceived value to the company. So here are 5 steps to take before asking for a raise.

1. Know Your Worth and Back It Up

Before you can go up to your boss and ask for some more money each pay cycle, you need to know how valuable you are to the company. You need to make sure that you are an asset that the company needs—or at least a potential asset, especially going forward. You need to be sure that you are doing something important for the company and that you have been doing it consistently and effectively. This is the time when you need to do some self-evaluation. You need to think deeply about all the work that you have done up to this point. You also need to reflect on whether you may have tripped along the way, and if you did, just how you managed to get back up.

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Aside from making sure you are really worth the investment you might also need to research your current job's market value. You can ask your colleagues, friends, or even just search the Web for the information. You can keep up with the trends and developments in your field this way, and it will also allow you to check how much you may be worth to the company. This will strengthen your grounds when asking for that raise. So before you go knocking on your boss's door, make sure that you have the facts and figures straight so that you won't feel you are wasting each other's time.

2. Look for the Proper Timing

Timing is crucial in the world of business, and that applies to operations as well. You can't just go straight up to your boss and ask for the raise right away. You need to strike at the perfect moment, when your case is strong and set in concrete. Even if you have all the facts straightened out to give you the backup you need, there is still a chance that you would not get the raise that you were hoping for—and all because you asked too soon or too late. 

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When you ask for a raise it should never be at a bad time, like when the company has just suffered a huge blow financially or operationally, or even when your boss is just not in the mood due to reasons beyond work. It should always be at a time when everything is looking great, like when the company just scored a big exclusive deal, or the company has reached one of its goals, or when sales are flying higher than ever. In these circumstances, anyone would be feeling a little generous.

3. Assess for Financial Stability

It is important to assess if the company is currently financially stable or if it is still in a delicate state or a state of growth. If you were to ask right away, things would get awkward if you discover the company is in a dire state. There are also other factors involved, like if the business is in a sound state in economic terms or if the trend of your business has stop rising and at worse might even suffer from a major fall in the overall market.

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These questions will all have a significant outcome. If you think about it, why would the company give you more money when they can't even make more money to begin with? Even if you were doing your best and hit crazy numbers with your performance, the company would be unable to compensate you properly if they can't find the means for it. So make sure that whenever you think it is about time for a pay increase, the company is in a good and stable condition.

4. Be Flexible

In the event that you have managed to engage your boss in a talk with regards to increasing your salary, you need to be prepared to negotiate. There is always a chance that things might not go in your favor, or that it will be in your favor but not as much as you would have hoped. This is the time where you need to show off your negotiating skills and maybe even earn a few points with the big man if you can manage to play your cards right. 

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There will be possibilities where your boss can only offer so much, and the reasons could be due to budget constraints, a work ethics issue, or that somebody even higher on the hierarchy might have placed a temporary freeze status on the salary. You must always be prepared for any situation that falls short of your expectations. It is important to find some sort of middle ground during the negotiation as well as at the worst possible outcome, say, the talk might fall through and not only will you be unable to get the raise but you also leave a sour taste in the boss's mouth. You need to learn to meet halfway if nothing else, so prove you can flex.

5. Plan B, C, D, Q...

Whenever you attempt to ask for a raise, be prepared for the possibility that your request will be turned down by your boss or someone who has more power than him. And if that happens, then there is no need for you to be discouraged by it. After all, you were simply asking if it was possible. Instead of being depressed about it, ask your boss what he thinks you should do in order for you to get that raise, what measures should be taken, which areas you might need to improve in, what key performance indicators or metrics do they deem most important and worthy of compensation. And if you see another chance and you feel that it is appropriate, try asking again. 

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You need to be ready; this will hit some people hard. It helps if you do visual training to be more mentally prepared should this scenario play out. If all else fails, then it might be time for you to consider exploring other opportunities elsewhere. A series of repeated disapprovals not only deals a blow to your self-esteem but also means that it is possible that the company doesn't necessarily see you as an asset. Your chances of moving up the corporate ladder in this particular company would be slim or abysmal at most. So it's best to cut your losses sooner rather than later.

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