You have to know what you’re worth. Whether you are negotiating your salary for a new job, asking for a raise — or appearing on a reality show like Dragons’ Den — you can’t put a price tag on yourself unless you’ve spent some time figuring out what you can justify.
That’s the first challenge for the eager entrepreneurs who come into the Den to try and convince a panel of Canadian multi-millionaires to invest money into their business.
They have to put a number on how much of their company they’re willing to sell, and for how much, i.e. “I’m looking for $250,000. That will buy you a 10 per cent stake in my company.”
If they’re out of whack with that valuation, and can’t back up it up with solid sales figures, or a truly convincing demonstration of their business’ potential, watch the Dragons breathe fire!
It’s not much different when it comes time to negotiate a new salary. If you name a figure that is completely out of touch with other professionals with similar experience earn, that could make an employer question your common sense — and maybe even the job offer.
On the other hand, you also have to be careful to not sell yourself short. You could be stuck with a low salary for a long time, if you don’t make a case for why you deserve the bigger bucks.
There’s a fascinating example of someone fighting for what they’re worth on tonight’s episode of Dragons’ Den. Steve Sal Debus of Vancouver came to entice the Dragons to invest in his company Modrobes. If you’re relatively young (and cool), you may recall this popular brand.
But it disappeared in 2005, after Steve and his management team made some big mistakes. The company went bankrupt.
Well lo and behold, despite that past failure, Steve gets a $200,000 offer from Jim Treliving, owner of Boston Pizza. How great would that sound to someone who desperately needs cash to start again? Not great enough apparently. Steve turns Jim down. Does he get another, better offer? You’ll need to watch to find out!
One thing I can say now though, is that Steve makes a good case as to why he’s worth more.
And making a good case is what everyone has to do, when they’re wanting to negotiate a fair, reasonable salary.