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"No" Your Way to Success

Just say no.

Like, all the time.

And no, this isn’t to help you stay off drugs, this is to help you be a successful entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs believe that the secret to success is to say “yes” whenever an opportunity is presented to you.

But, I say it’s the exact opposite word.

Why we Say “Yes”

When an opportunity is presented to us, we are quick to say “yes” to it for a number of reasons:

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  • A desire to please.

  • The belief that we are the only ones who can do something right.

  • An automatic reaction before any thought is put into the request.

  • A failure to consider exactly how much work saying “yes” to something will entail.

  • A fear of looking lazy if we say “no.”

It’s important to consider, however, that saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way can mean your business having an excessive amount of products to sell or you personally having too many commitments for your time and energy. Your business may end up with too many clients to realistically handle or too many orders to fulfill.

This is why it’s crucial to say “no” to a lot of things. I’ve said “no” to clients that were referred to me because I knew if I took them on, I’d be stretching my resources too thin. Once you get used to saying “no,” it becomes much easier and you will start to see the advantages of it.

For those of you who dislike saying “no,” here is how you can train your tongue to start at the top of your mouth just behind your teeth and pull away as your lips round into a circle while you engage your vocal cords.

1. Figure out how much a “yes” will cost you.

Every “yes” is going to cost you something. It could be time, money, resources, increased stress or any of a number of other things. Even if saying “yes” promises to bring increased revenue, like the introduction of a new product line, for example, there will be an initial investment to get to that point. You’ll need to set up a supply chain, which will cost you time and energy to do. You’ll have to devote resources to it, like one of your staff, and you’ll have to spend money on it to get it going.

The promise of increased revenue may seem too good to pass up, but what if getting that all set up causes you to lose production on your core offering and throws your cash flow out of whack to the point where you put your business in danger?

It’s these kind of costs that you have to figure out first.

2. Ask if saying “yes” to something fits with your long-term business goals.

Being the responsible and smart entrepreneur you are, you have business goals set up, both short- and long-term. When you’re deciding whether to do something, look at these goals and see if what you’re considering will help you to reach them. If not, then it actually might end up being more of a distraction from your goals.

3. Consider future costs.

Let’s say you have enough time, enough money and enough resources to say “yes” to an opportunity and know that it won’t hamper your operations in any way. It still might cost you something because if a different, better opportunity comes along later, you might be too busy or not have the resources to say “yes” to that because you said “yes” to something else already.

Obviously you can’t know for sure what opportunities are going to be coming your way in the future, but consider that you should be extra careful with every “yes” because it could affect future opportunities.

4. Treat “no” as an action that you’re taking.

You may feel like saying “no” to something means you’re doing nothing, but that’s not true. When you say “no,” you are doing something because saying “no” to something is taking an action on it. You’re telling the person who made the request that you are actively deciding not to pursue that opportunity. It could be that you don’t have the resources, it could be because you believe something better is going to come along or it could be simply because you don’t want to. Whatever the reason, saying “no” is doing something.

Learning to say “no” as an entrepreneur means you value your time and resources enough to be discerning about the opportunities that are presented to you so you can say “yes” to the truly promising ones.

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