Whether it’s a request for extra funding for your startup or a meeting to establish a partnership with another company for the first time, asking for more is still a struggle for even the most confident entrepreneurs.
According to a survey conducted by salary.com, 44% of people negotiate only sometimes, and 18% opt never to negotiate. A lack of skills and general fear are the culprits as to why so many remain reserved around this topic.
Time to kick that fear to the curb!
Here’s how to give your confidence the boost it needs to get what you want and grow your small business.
1. Act like you’re back in school, and do your homework.
One of the biggest rules of thumb for asking for more is being prepared to deliver. Your actions should speak loudly here. Great leaders, particularly those running startups, exhibit signs of proactive behavior on a daily basis to back up their requests.
Before going in for negotiations, you should be able to showcase a proven track record of steady accomplishments and success your business has sustained over a specific period of time. Bring along hard numbers, statistics, and information like customer reviews and social media referrals that demonstrate the value of your business and how it has gone above and beyond what is required for a positive return on investment.
2. The more meetings you’re in, the better.
Take on as many meetings with investors, partners, and potential acquirers of your business that you possibly can. Use these opportunities as a time to learn where they’re coming from and listen to what they have to say and any recommendations they may have. As you learn more, you’ll get better at positioning your business for success.
You should also take the time to meet with any mentors you may have and other colleagues in your position. Ask questions, get feedback, and leverage the advice and experience that mentors you trust have to offer. If you’re not quite comfortable with talking up your business yet, practice rehearsing your elevator pitches or discussions in advance with confidantes to test out responses you may receive and how to reply to them. This will better prepare you to handle any question that comes your way with ease and poise.
3. Adopt a “power pose.”
You’ve done your research and met with colleagues to pick their brains for advice; Now it’s time to reexamine your presence in the room.
Amy Cuddy, a Professor, and Researcher at Harvard Business School advises in her 2012 TED Talk to consider your body language and what it communicates to others. Your body language shapes so much of who you are because we make sweeping judgments based on body language. According to Cuddy, the kind of stance you have allows you to build trust with others. For example, if you come off too strong you may be viewed as threatening because there hasn’t been time to establish trust yet. She advises assuming a power pose, often referred to as the Wonder Woman stance. This pose should make you feel inspired to be more present and authentic and enable you to be much more confident in discussing your value.
Ultimately though, the only way your startup will succeed in the long run is if you are determined to step up to the plate for it. Take the time to do your research, meet with others, and stand tall. Getting what you want all begins and ends with you — and when you ask for more, you know exactly what you’re worth.