How Saying, “No,” Will Transform Your Business

by | Dec 18, 2020

When we start up a business, it’s easy to say, “Yes,” all the time. We want lots of customers and we want them to be happy.

But sometimes it can seriously bite you in the long term. Because if you’re trying to please everyone, as you grow, other people will be suffering… especially you. 

If you’re running yourself ragged because you’ve said yes to lots of folk, that’s time you could be spent working on the ‘big picture’ stuff or, frankly, relaxing with friends and family.

I want a meeting!

Let’s say a potential new client wants a meeting. In the early days, you’ll probably agree to it. Why not? It could mean more business for you! Maybe you even go to see them rather than them come to see you. You quickly say yes to the meeting, spend an hour driving to see them… only to find out you’re not a good fit for each other. 

Or there’s another decision-maker involved, who isn’t there. 

Or they’re not actually there themselves. I couldn’t tell you how many times myself and other business owners I know have turned up to meetings to find out the person who requested the meeting has forgotten. Or found something more important to do.

F*cking annoying. Rude too. We’ll give someone 15 minutes – benefit of the doubt – but no longer. That’s time we could be spending helping paying clients.

You need to pre-qualify people before agreeing to any meeting. That’s one of the top things I’d tell my younger self when starting out in business. And if they don’t pass, YOU SAY NO.

Yes yes yes 

Saying yes too quickly can also set a precedent, which also damages you long term. Let’s say someone asks for your mobile number. You can do what you want, of course, as long as you’re accepting of the fact that that person can not only call you whenever they want, but they can text you, WhatsApp you and Facebook Message you. You have pretty much given them your permission.

 My personal favourite is when someone WhatsApps you to tell you that they’ve emailed you….

 Or they WhatsApp you one time, then they text you the next… and maybe even Facebook Message you after that!

 If you answer a call or respond to a WhatsApp on a Saturday, you have given them carte blanche to contact you whenever they want. And to be clear; it’s not their fault for contacting you on a Saturday – it’s your fault for answering. It’s your fault for saying yes.

 Depending on what line of work you’re in, I’d think carefully about giving your mobile number out. If it’s just you and you alone, with no office and landline, I’d rather pay a few quid a month to have a virtual landline number.

 How much do you value your time?

All of the above boils down to being too contactable. Saying yes to everyone and everything eats into your time. Time that you can never get back. It’s like helping charities; we all want to be charitable but you can’t give your time and money to every charity.

It’s not being mean saying no to one charity when you’ve said yes to another.

It’s not being mean identifying that someone hasn’t got the budget for your product/service before you have a meeting.

It’s not being mean refusing to give out a mobile number.

It’s not being mean allowing everyone under the sun to “pick your brains”, i.e. tap you up for a load of free knowledge.

Saying no is empowering. Some people won’t like it but that’s OK. Even when it comes to things outside of work. Do you ever find that you’re inconveniencing yourself to keep certain friends happy? You always have to fit around their plans? Stop that sh*t right now! You are important too, you know! 

Saying no, or rather not saying yes all the time, will make things simpler, more efficient and more profitable for you and your business. It will also save you a tonne of headaches. I’m all for putting yourself under pressure now and then – you only grow outside of your comfort zone – but I’m an equally big fan of not making stress for myself 😅

As ever, anyone you know who needs to re-visit their marketing because what they’re currently doing is not moving them closer to their goals, a free Discovery Call with Joel or I can be applied for via

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