This can be a tough one for entrepreneurs, especially those new in business, or those easily attracted to new opportunities (the next big shiny thing). So, I ask these questions of you;

How easy do you find it to say no?

For those new in business, it might be very difficult to say no for fear of losing out on a new customer. It may be very easy to say no to opportunities or situations outside of your comfort zone. I wonder though, does this help you develop as a business owner, or grow the business you envisaged?

Agreeing to work with someone who doesn’t truly fit your ideal customer profile may damage your love for the work, despite earning the money. It may in the end cost you more time, money or productivity, or take your skills in a direction you don’t want to concentrate on.

Can you say no to someone who doesn’t give you the respect you deserve? A persistent late payer, a non-communicative customer… Can you say no to a prospective new employee that shows promise, but isn’t the right fit, right now?

Is saying no ignoring your instincts, or simply protecting your business?

It’s true, it isn’t a natural instinct to say yes to something that scares you, or no to something when you don’t want to rock the boat, hence entrepreneurs build the ability to say no and step out of their comfort zone. They have worked on becoming strong enough to fight their natural instincts. I feel that if we can’t master the art of saying no, we will never have the business we desire as we will be consistently taking two steps forward, too many back. Often, we end up serving other peoples agendas rather than thinking of our own goals, purpose and reason why.

Here’s how to find that strength…

  1. First, we have to understand what we want and therefore what we do not want. Thereafter with systems in place and confidence in our choices we are more able to say no, or at least understand how we can learn from future communications, when the opportunity to say no next presents itself.

TIP: When you’re clear in your reasoning to yourself, it makes it easier to communicate your reasons to the person or opportunity.

  • Next, keep your ‘wants’, or end goal front of mind. It’s about being able to identify whether the opportunity that presents itself will help drive you closer to what you want, or take you off on a tangent, or even backwards. I always say to my clients that when you have a crystal-clear objective then interruptions and distractions are so easy to see.

TIP: Stay focussed on your business development plan, objectives and end goal, to help you identify opportunities from distractions.

  • Try to allow the time and employ strategic questioning to help you assess the opportunity.
  • Will it get you closer to your end goal or objectives?
  • Will it cost you time, money, productivity, or ethics? Or will it save or enhance those things?
  • What value will it bring to your business and customers?
  • If you trial it, make the final decision fast, as Mats Lederhausen said, ‘scale or fail fast’.

TIP: Not all opportunities are distractions, some will be highly beneficial to you, your business and your customers. So, take the time to properly assess what’s being offered to you.

As ever, I hope my advice and tips will help you identify a shiny distraction from a genuine business development opportunity and find the strength to say no when you need to.

For more tips and advice on growing your business or entrepreneurial development, please subscribe to my Mike Foster YouTube channel or search my blog for topics of support. I would also like to offer you an hour of free business mentoring you help you get your strategy for saying no in place. I look forward to hearing from you.

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