When I was working for other people, I always had much more confidence about work.

If the company needed to buy something, I would go and buy it and always ask for a discount to try and save the business some money. If they said no, so what. It was not personal, they were saying no to the business, not to me.

I am not the same with personal things and would never dream of asking for a discount if I was buying anything for myself. I just would not have the courage to do it because I would feel embarrassed.

Unfortunately for me, that feeling has carried over when I started my own business. I did not ask for discounts. Why would anyone want to give me or my business money off? I'm a small fish. They will only say no. It will also make me looker small, like I am trying to scrimp and save because the business is not doing very well and it will give a bad impression.

That all changed two days ago.

After running my business for three years, I finally decided that I am going to ask for a discount.

For the web sites that we build, most of the time we register domain names on behalf of our customers and of course they need renewing every year. Consequently we have hundreds of domain names that we look after and we've steadily been moving them to a new registrar over the last 12 months, to the point where we have about 400 in our account with them.

The other morning I decided that I am going to ask for a discount. I'm going to try my luck and just see what happens.

I didn't e-mail the company directly through their normal support e-mail addresses or log a ticket in their help desk system because I thought it needed to go higher up the chain - a low level technical support person wouldn't have the authority to give me what I'm asking for, so I decided to try and track down the company CEO.

After two minutes of searching, I came across this excellent online resource - ceoemail.com

On here are thousands of company CEOs with their contact details. It's a free resource and there's no need to sign up, just search for the company that you're looking for.

I found the CEO I was looking for, along with his e-mail address.

I typed out a quick e-mail, explaining that we are presumably one of his larger customers - as most people only register a single domain name - and explained that we were slowly moving all of our domains over to them. Is there any chance of a discount?

To my surprise, within 30 minutes of sending my e-mail, John - the CEO - had replied directly saying that he would 'see what he could do'.

I had actually got through to the CEO of a major company and they had replied! Better still, he was going to try and help me out.

24 hours later, another e-mail arrived. This time it was from a member of John's team saying that he had implemented a 25% discount across our account.

I couldn't believe it. Just by asking and spending 30 minutes corresponding with people, I had saved our company thousands of pounds.

I replied to both, thanking them for their help and that was it. Easy and effective.

It really does work.