Grow Your Business By Learning To Say No

We tend to think of ‘no’ as a big red stop sign in the middle of the street. But has it ever occurred to you that sometimes saying ‘no’ is what’s going to push you forward? When you’re in business, you’re going to find a plethora of opportunities coming your way.

Opportunities can become a problem because the temptation is to say 'yes' to everything – after all, who knows when another opportunity is going to come your way? But more often than not, by saying 'yes' early, you might be tying up resources that you could put to better use elsewhere. Your 'yes' is hurting your business. Here are some pointers on how you can tell when you should say no.

1How Will This Use Your Time?

There are only so many hours in a day. When you're looking at an opportunity, you need to decide if this is something that will be worth your time. To figure that out, ask yourself what this opportunity will do for you.

Will it grow your business somehow? Does it fill a current need? Will it enhance a skill set? Is it something enjoyable? All of these factors are important to take into consideration.

2What Is The Required Investment?

Ask yourself what the investments regarding other resources are. What will this cost you in human resources? Is there a physical cost in materials or training that will be required? Is this a fair return on that expense?

3Are There Any Red Flags?

Find out how you feel about the new opportunity. Ask yourself if the opportunity is realistic. Think and see if it is something that interests you.

For example, is the client known for being difficult to work for? Do the clients seem clear about what they want? Are you already overcommitted and worrying about whether you have the time for more things?

4Will Other Clients Suffer If You Take On This Work?

You may already be committed to other projects, and there's not much slack left. Think and see if this work is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. There's a possibility that you'll be shortchanging loyal customers for the sake of new ones.

5Will This Impact You In A Negative Way?

Be honest here. It might be that this isn’t an opportunity at all but just more of what you’ve been doing all along. If you’re already overworked, overtired, and stressed out, even something that’s a real opportunity might not be right for you. Remember that if your health suffers, so will your business.

6Did You Ask For A Different Perspective?

Have you talked about this new opportunity with your mentors? It is essential to surround yourself with mentors that have achieved what you want to attain. It might be that a different perspective is all you need to determine when saying ‘no’ might be the better option.

Opportunities come along all the time. In the long run, knowing when to say ‘no’ will benefit your business more than saying ‘yes’ to everything could ever do. Focus on what’s important and don’t let yourself be distracted by the things that aren’t going to do you any good at all.

Tom Garcia

Tom Garcia, a resident of Poway, is a human resources manager. He learned in his career that he couldn't make everyone happy. Saying 'no' can be a challenge, but when one learns to say it with confidence in tough situations, it's better for everyone.