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The Power of Saying ‘No’ to Benefit Your Business.

by | Jun 12, 2020

Uncle Ben said it best, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Sometimes, that power means knowing when to say no for the sake of your business. Allow me to explain…

We’ve all been there, the temptation to say yes as a business owner or a business decision-maker is huge. “Say yes and figure it out later” is what most of the leading business books say.

I can understand it from the perspective of growing your business and getting cash in the short term. However, the reality is, if you continue to say yes to people, without thinking about the long-term growth of your business, you’re going to find yourself stuck at some point.

When to say no!

As a business owner, the word no just seems alien though, I get it. To help, I’ve listed some reasons you might say no, and the benefit that’ll have to your marketing and the long-term growth of your business.

Would you drink with them?

Does the person you’re talking to, or the business you’re negotiating with, match up with your values?

This could be on a massive scale, it could be politically, environmentally, morally, this business just doesn’t align with you. Or it could be on a personal level, that the decision-maker you’ll be dealing with just doesn’t match up with you.

One thing we always say at Codebreak is we only work with people we’d be willing to go for a drink with.

That sounds a bit flippant and tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is, if we can’t go for a drink with someone and have that honest conversation where there’s open back and forth, then we can’t work with them. Our values won’t quite align and we won’t be on the same wavelength.

What will other businesses think?

Chances are, other people will have the same opinion of a business as you do. If you’re willing to work with a business whose values don’t match with yours, it just gives the perception that you’re not fully bought into your own values, that you don’t believe in what you’re saying.

By saying no to a business like that, you’re actually reinforcing your values and when people find out you have said no to a business owner, or a big opportunity, they’ll respect you for it and they’ll respect that it’s because it didn’t fit your business.

Are they a bully?

On this basis, they may want you to rush something through, or squeeze down on price and the temptation is, because they’re reputable or they’re a bigger business than you, to say yes.

If you say no, you’ll show them early doors how much you value yourself. Chances are, if they’re a bigger business than you, and you say no to them, they’ll actually take a step back and think, “blimey, we can’t just boss people around and bully people in the marketplace, “we’ve actually got someone here with some self-worth who’s standing their ground and willing to say no to us.”

Sure, you may never work with them again, but when word gets out about that, it just shows how much value you place on your own time, and your own money.

Are you too busy for new business?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “want something doing, ask someone who’s busy” and that’s true, I’m guilty of that. If I’m having a busy day and people plough stuff on me, I just let the list get longer.

The reality is though, if you actually say no to someone in this situation like, “look, we’re fully stacked at the moment so we can’t work with you for a couple of months” or, “no, we’re not going to be able to fit you in this year, but we do know someone who can help you, and maybe we can work on this together next year”.

It just shows how successful you are, it demonstrates that you’re not a busy fool, and that’s no bad thing for your business and long-term growth.

What does your gut tell you?

If you’ve got a gut feeling that this person, or business, isn’t right for you, trust it, because chances are you’ll have that anxiety around the job.

You’ll be stressed about the time spent on it, how to allocate things and respond to things, because there’s just that overall gut feeling that something’s not quite right. Again, you might make a few mistakes, but why risk it?

Think about the bigger picture

Say no, save yourself the worry, go after the clients that really fit.

The one question that Andy’s always telling me to ask people is, “does it make the boat go faster?”

If you’re saying yes to something and it grows your business, accelerates your growth, increases the reach of your business, or it reinforces your values, then it’s making your business grow. It’s making your business better and it makes the boat go faster.

However, if it’s just putting you under pressure for short-term growth when in the long term you’re actually going to slow down, say no. If it doesn’t make the boat go faster, say no.

If you’d like to know more about saying no to people, book a Discovery Call with me, I’d love to chat to you.

Codebreak Marketing Assistant Emily

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