Once again I am looking for some advice from this community, and hoping that I post this BLUF correctly.


BLUF: I have not had a salary increase in over two years and wondering what is the best way to prepare and present my case for one.



I joined a small family run business over two years ago.  At the time I was promised a review after six months.  As I had not yet accomplished many of my original objectives (monthly financial reports, getting department back on track, closing the year end) I did not push for this review. 

In the subsequent months (year) I have accomplished all my original objectives and have increased the productivity of my department and staff. Monthly financial statements are done by the 10th, I have developed new operating reports, invoicing is done on schedule, A/R is clean and up to date.  I continue to push my department, started )3's and monthly staff meetings (we don't really need biweekly), and have pushed senior management for bi weekly management meetings. For the first time in company history we have a budget, weekly, monthly and yearly cashflow etc.

It is now that I feel I have made significant contributions to the company and seek to be compensated for these.  I did get a bonus last year, but not an salary increase.

We do not have a review process here, but I have been listing my accomplishments in preparation for asking for this meeting.

Hence my question, what is the best way to prepare and present my case for a salary increase.

I would also welcome some feedback on my BLUF (as this is my first time doing one).


Thanks as way.






12string's picture
Training Badge

 I would counsel against asking for a raise in this economic environment.  I would keep your data pile coming and wait until there is a better financial climate...

Just my opinion.  I also work for a small family-owned business, started just about 2 years ago here.  I wouldn't expect a raise right about now, but I'd be interested to hear how it goes if you decide to ask anyway.

Your BLUF was fine.  I might have worded it like this: How would I prepare and present my case for a salary increase? 


Just a thought, if you won't get any salary jumps, you might want to ask for an extra week of vacation...


TomW's picture
Training Badge

The BLUF worked great. It makes an assumption that I'm betting that you will get a lot of feedback on: That you should in fact do what you are asking for advice how to do.

I don't think that assumption is correct. The first question to answer is "when should I ask for a raise?" And my answer would be "When the company has the additional finances to pay for it and will continue to have such finances for the foreseeable future AND when the value you bring to the company has increased more than the rate of inflation since the last raise".

While your value may have increased (or your value may just now be what it should have been before when you were missing your objectives. Be ready for that kind of assessment against you), a small family business may not have the financial security to start offering raises. Heck, there are billion dollar companies out there not giving raises right now. Even if you get do one, word will get out and everyone will want one.

RickMeasham's picture

Reading the question and the responses suggesting waiting for better economic times, a thought crosses my mind:

Do fellow MTers think it would it be a good idea for BBundy to do everything but ask for more money now? In other words "I don't want to put the pressure on the business by asking for a raise this year, but I wanted to go over my achievements anyway.Then, when the economy has improved, we can talk again."

Reasons I'm suggesting this:

  • It will/should put BBundy first in line when there is some gravy to be handed out
  • BBundy will be seen as understanding the financial pressures and being willing to forego a deserved payrise will be appreciated
  • Any new achievements in the next 12 months will be clearly seen as a second year of outstanding performance rather than just a single "period" of great performance

What do you think? Is my logic sound?

Rick Measham

Geek Herding

asteriskrntt1's picture


You know if the company is making money.  You know if the owners are taking more money out, or increasing their draws.  You also know if any other significant contributors are or have gotten raises in the period you have been there.  These are all clues for you.  If no one else is getting raises even though the company is profitable (I am guessing it is as you got a bonus), the family probably decided it is not giving raises right now.

That being said, you should treat your quest for a raise as any other project.  Pre-wire it.  Start having casual conversations about the history of raises, how they decide who gets a raise etc.  Start getting people on board.  Be very cautious about pushing this, as you might raise yourself out of a job if the bosses see you as telling them how to do their jobs (see, Managing Up, Don't).



BBundy's picture

Okay here is an update, but first ... Thanks everyone for the advice.

My boss approached me on last week saying after his vacation, one week, we need to sit down to discuss my salary.  I had not mentioned this at all. For the past year on a select few received increases, mostly 3 - 4% for some clerical people.  I was able to justify an increase for all my staff, due to overall improvements in the department. 

My followup question is : As my boss approached me stating we need to discuss my salary should I still prepare for the meeting with all my accomplishments and wins during the year?

Rick, I think your logic is sound, it is actually what I followed.  The wins started coming after my first six months and have continued.  Once a topic is off the "to do" list, I make sure it does not fall apart.  I did not approach management during 2009 due to the financial constraints on the company, but I feel waiting a third year (no increase 2008 or 2009 but did get a bonus in 2008) without some merit increase is too long.  I'm happy to have a job and don't want to price myself out of a job, but (in my opinion) I feel my work product has produced the results to merit an increase.

*RNTT - Yes I know the financial situation of the company, but can not disclose my knowledge, but I always try to not let this influence my objectives. (I try not to let knowledge of others increases (if there were any) factor into mine.  I can't say "so and so got on therefore I deserve one").   I'd like your suggestion of the pre-wire though.

Once again thanks for the advice.





asteriskrntt1's picture

Yes, you still prepare even though the boss has brought it up.  Why would you not prepare for an important meeting.  And I was not suggesting saying anyone else got a raise.  It is easier to give a lower paid clerical 4% than a more senior person 4%, isn't it.  I was suggesting that by looking at if anyone was getting raises of any substance, it helps you gauge the owners' attitude towards raises right now.  One of the most important things you can learn as an up and coming exec is "what is the management attitude towards a decision?" and factor that in to your requests as much as possible.  Sometimes the management attitude is very obvious, sometimes not.