6 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Just Say ‘No’ in Business

— December 20, 2017

For many people, saying ‘no’ can be the hardest thing to do.

When was the last time you said ‘no’ to someone when it comes to business? Most entrepreneurs don’t feel they can say ‘no’ to opportunities. How can you grow your business if you say ‘no,’ right? Wrong. Sometimes saying ‘no’ is the best thing you can do for your business. Here are six reasons why.

You might be missing out on better opportunities

Before everyone freaks out, I am not saying that the grass is greener on the other side all the time. I’m saying that not every business opportunity will be the right opportunity for you. If you spend your time saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that aren’t a great fit or don’t walk your business in the right direction, then your time is likely being spent on the wrong opportunities.

Figure out what your ideal opportunity would be and try to stick to those types of opportunities. It’s your business, your brand, and you should stick to your vision, not adjust because it’s “taking too long” or “this will just tide you over until something better comes along.” And remember, bigger deals are harder to get, but you can’t focus on getting those deals if you are messing with the small stuff.

You just aren’t ready

When you built your business plan, you would have outlined goals and milestones you wanted to hit. In many cases this could include infrastructure, staffing, skills training, etc. Taking on opportunities before you have those things in place can be detrimental to your business growth. You might be able to throw something together, but really it would likely be a bandaid solution that won’t support further growth. You will then have to take two steps backward to fix things before moving forward. This can be costly and take a lot more time than doing it right in the first place. You could also alienate the very customers and investors you sought to impress by saying ‘yes’ rather than looking at the long-term upside of proper planning.

If you aren’t going to do it well, then why do it at all?

Setting boundaries puts you in charge of your success

As an entrepreneur, you are likely trying to make your own mark on your industry. The key in doing that successfully is moving at your own pace on your own terms. You need to manage expectations at every stage of your business.

It forces you to focus on your own needs

Giving in to everyone else’s needs around you without care for your own means that you are giving up too much control. Evaluating each opportunity to ensure it is a good fit for you forces you to look at your own organizational needs. Keep revisiting your business plan to keep track of your objectives and whether you are hitting your own milestones.

You are already too busy

You don’t need to be a hero. Taking on too much work leads to burn out and resentment towards your business. While it might work out in the short-term, it certainly doesn’t lead to more success in the long-term because it will be hard for you to keep up the pace. If you really want to take on a new opportunity, figure out whether you can actually handle it (there are only so many working hours in a day) or whether it’s time to expand your team.

You won’t profit

You likely started your business because you were/are passionate about your idea, but you still need to make money to keep it going and to live. Sometimes an opportunity just won’t be profitable for you, and it is ok to say no because of that.

Keep in mind that profit doesn’t always have to be monetary. There are times when brand exposure and experience will help your business grow. You just need to be sure that it is the right opportunity.

Saying ‘no’ likely won’t come naturally to you, but you would be wise to practice. In the long-run, you’ll thank me.

A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.

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Author: Candace Huntly

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