The Power of Saying "No" as a Small Business Owner



· 4 min read

Since we were young, we sought "yes." Getting and giving a yes response always seemed like the better option. The word no brought along with it negative connotations and feelings of rejection.

But as you mature and grow into your entrepreneur role, there are many ways that constantly saying yes can impact your business's growth.

Therefore, building that "no" muscle is essential to growing your business.

Here is how.

It Sets Clear Boundaries

Everyone says that becoming an entrepreneur requires sacrifice and dedication.

I'm not going to disagree with them because I have learned that becoming an entrepreneur does come with tradeoffs, but it doesn't mean life has to be bland.

It doesn't mean you have to say no to the things that are important and valuable to you. On the contrary, when you define what's meaningful to you, it becomes easier to say no to the things that aren't.

Then the people around you begin to see your values, not just because of what you say they are. But more importantly, because of the things you say no to. The things that you are no longer identified by.

When I became serious about being an entrepreneur, I realized alcohol would be a problem. It messed up my sleep and affected my productivity. I decided one day, about four years ago, to give it up for good. And I haven't even been tempted with a sip ever since.

My friends all know me as the girl who will hang with them for a bit but will not dare to take a drink. I have fun, dance, eat, and leave with enough good memories and energy to continue my entrepreneurial journey the next day.

It Reduces the Risk of Opportunity Cost

The more successful you are in business, the more opportunities come your way. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for making the tough decisions for your business.

Do you need to meet with every client? Do you have time to fulfill another order? Can you increase the marketing budget without increasing the need to hire someone else? Is this client a good long-term fit for your business?

You become exposed to more questions and opportunities every day. If you default to saying yes at every turn, it could seriously jeopardize the success of your business. Some options may be better than others. And while you have no way of knowing the future, you should develop techniques to test them and make more long-term decisions.

It Fosters A Clear Competitive Advantage

as a young business owner, you want to open the door and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to ensure your business's success. It can be scary to say no to an opportunity that may seem like a good fit for your business. However, you must be intentional with what you say yes and no to.

When you are intentional with the things you say no to, it establishes a clear competitive advantage. Saying no to things that don't align with your mission and vision for the business helps keep you and your team focused.

Try to be as intentional as you can with who you employ, serve, and partner with. You can only engage some people that apply to work with you. You can only partner with some who reach out seeking a partnership. You can only serve some customers. Define who you can say yes to, then use the metrics to evaluate them and say no to the rest.

Remember that what you choose to say yes and no to will contribute significantly to your success or failure.

Rewire what you have believed all your life, and remove the negative associations with the word no.

Recognize that you will have to say no to a lot of things. But the power to say no, remain focused and uphold your boundaries is a skill that only some of the most successful business owners have developed.

Are you going to be one of them?

The Challenge
Evaluate your associations with the word no. If they are negative, remind yourself of the benefits and power of this tiny word. And begin to be more conscious about using it in the right situations.

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