Saying “No” to New Opportunities Can Be Good for Your Business

by | Oct 14, 2020 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset

We tend to think of the word “no” like 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 any kind of entrepreneur, Authorneers included, you’re going to find a plethora of opportunities coming your way. That can become a problem because the temptation is to say “yes” to everything — after all, who knows when another such opportunity is going to come your way, right? 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.

I know this firsthand because I often am distracted by “bright shiny objects.” Squirrel! However, I’ve been working on this for awhile and am now a “recovering yes-sayer.” On this journey, I’ve learned some ways you tell when you should say no.

1. How will this opportunity use your time?

There are only so many hours in a day, so when you’re looking at an opportunity, whether it is new software, an online course, or even a one-hour webinar, you need to decide if it 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?
    This is why having a business plan is so important. When you know where you want your business to go, you can tell the difference between opportunities that will grow a business vs. grow your business.
  • Does it fill a current need?
    It is easy to fall into the trap of investing in something that you think you might need further down the road. Why not save money now? However, this ties up funds you may need for something right now. Is this opportunity truly one of them?
  • Will it enhance a skill set?
    And is the skill set it enhances one that you need either right now or soon? Will this enhancing skill set move you toward your goals? Or will it just be something else you can do?
  • Is it something enjoyable?
    When you don’t enjoy doing something, it takes you longer to do it. Make sure there is at least a little bit of pleasure involved in this opportunity you are evaluating.

All of these factors are important to take into consideration.

2. What is the required investment regarding other resources?

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? Many opportunities require an investment of other things beyond funds. Include those in your evaluation.

3. Are there any red flags?

For example, is the client known for being difficult to work for, and do they seem clear in what they want? Are you already overcommitted and worrying about whether you have the time for more things? Don’t take on an opportunity, no matter how golden it looks, if it will overwhelm you.

4. How do you feel about it?

Is this opportunity realistic? Is this something that doesn’t interest you? Check in with your emotions to make sure this opportunity is right. I often use muscle testing to help me make decisions.

5. Will other clients suffer if you take on this work?

If you’re already committed to other projects, and there’s not much slack, is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Will you be shortchanging loyal customers for the sake of new ones?

6. Have you already done as much as you can in this direction?

Be honest with yourself here. It might be this isn’t an opportunity at all, but just more of what you’ve been doing all along.

7. Will this impact you in a negative way?

If you’re already overworked, overtired, and stressed out, even something that’s a true opportunity might be bad for you. Remember, that if your health suffers, so will your business.

8. Have you talked this out with your mentors?

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.” 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.


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