When Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Success

Many entrepreneurs are so eager to do business they agree to all opportunities. This is usually the case for every small business owner trying to win customers to survive.

You’ve probably heard the saying: “say yes, and figure out how to do it later.”

While this may be true in some cases, it gets a bit tricky when the customer’s request is not part of your core business. Should you grant a client’s wish even if it meant disregarding your mission and values as a company?

Keeping customers happy may be a quick way to grow your business and make more money. Yet look a little closer and it becomes clear this business strategy is unsustainable.

For instance, working on projects outside your scope of expertise may cost your business enormous time, money, or energy. Your profitability decreases because you spend more resources to complete the task.

There has to be an alternative business model to saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way.

The Power of Saying No

One of the most important attributes you need to have when running a small business is the ability to say no.

In fact, Steve Jobs often asked his design chief, Jony Ives, “How many times did you say ‘no’ today?” Saying no means you can focus your time and effort on the things you love to do – the things at which you excel at.

Saying no means you are saying yes to yourself, your family, your friends.

Think about how many times you have said ‘yes’ to a project and had to give up doing something you love to get done.

Sometimes the best answer is ‘no’ when:

  • you do not have enough resources to handle the requirements of a project;
  • the prospect is not the right fit for the products or services you offer;
  • the expectations, demands or requirements are unrealistic or ridiculous;
  • the request or project is a step back, i.e. it doesn’t bring you closer to your ultimate goal.

Deciding Whether to Say No

If you’re not sure whether to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a request, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will doing this affect my balance at work and home?
  • Do I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about saying yes?
  • Will I be annoyed at myself for saying yes instead of no?
  • Does it appeal to me?
  • Practice saying ‘no’ as often and as deliberately as you can. Mastering this skill will immensely improve your satisfaction and success as a business owner.