When To Say NO (And How To Do It)
Did you know that one of the most common triggers for stress or burnout as a business owner is the inability to say NO?
I get it, you are most likely thinking of other things such as finances, employees, customer demand, market shifts, etc. All of those things are triggers too, but trust me when I tell you that every business owner needs to learn to say NO if they want to keep their sanity.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs learn this lesson the hard way. I should know… I did.
When I started my business, I was hungry for growth, and I said YES to every opportunity that came my way. I probably shouldn’t have, but I did.
While this practice certainly helped me feed my family and grow my business in those early years, it also developed a bad habit. I got so used to saying YES to everything that I was actually hurting my business. I was saying YES to things that were definitely not in my wheelhouse and also were not very profitable. To top it off, I was miserable because I did not enjoy the work.
Saying YES as you try to grow your business gives you the opportunity to generate revenue and prove yourself and your skillsets, but every successful business owner will reach a point when they need to learn to say NO.
Are you at that point? How will you know?
Here are some indicators that you may be at a point where you need to start saying NO:
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a really good place to start. If you haven’t yet considered these factors, I would encourage you to do so.
BUT HOW DO I SAY NO?
Once you have determined that it’s time for you to start saying NO, how do you actually start doing it?
I understand this predicament because I’ve been there too. When you’ve said YES to everything for so long, saying NO requires a bit of a paradigm shift for most of us. Finally being at a place where you are willing to say NO is a good thing, but how do you do it in a way that is simple, yet professional?
In my experience, honesty is always the best policy. Most people appreciate the truth and while they may be disappointed, I am confident that they will respect you as long as you are straight with them, and are kind in the process. A few examples I use consistently are:
Obviously, the last example is a really good one because even though you are not going to solve the customer’s problem, you are offering them a resource that will solve their problem. That is a great way to exit gracefully and build good will at the same time.
While there is certainly much more I could cover on this topic, I trust you will find this helpful as you continue to build your business. If you have questions or simply want to dig deeper, I’d love to speak with you. You can reach me at email@example.com.