Knowing When to Say ‘No’ As an Entrepreneur

"Knowing When to Say ‘No’ As an Entrepreneur" Tree Carved with 'Just Say No' Graphic

~by Haley Lynn Gray~

Business owners have many opportunities arise. The challenge is choosing the right ones. Good opportunities will enhance your company. If it doesn’t enhance what you’re doing, or getting you closer to your goals, you should say no.

Too many entrepreneurs never learn to say ‘no’. In an effort to get their business off the ground and keep it up and running, they say ‘yes’ to everything. They end up trying to do too much for too many, which dilutes their focus and often the quality of their product or service. Don’t let this happen to you.

The desire to say yes to everything is understandable, but that doesn’t make it right or productive. If you’re an entrepreneur (or an aspiring entrepreneur) here’s why saying “no” can actually be one of the most important words in your vocabulary.

The Dangers of Saying ‘Yes’

Nearly everyone has experienced the harmful side-effects of saying yes too often: wasting time, burning out, and being over-committed with your time. When you’re exhausted, your business is not going to run at its best. Saying yes too often can cause you to become unfocused on the important tasks in your business. At worst, it can become a bad habit that leads to bad decisions that can cause massive disorder in your business. It will cause you to react to the latest offer you said “yes” to rather than chasing the original goals you intended when you started your business.

Once you’ve started saying yes to everything that crosses your path, you’ve relinquished control over your business direction. This is when your business is likely to get seized by clients or money: you’re short-changing your priorities, so the priorities of others will come first. Then you will sacrifice the very benefits you were chasing as an entrepreneur in the first place. Your time and priorities will come second to others’ when you are always saying yes to everything that is handed your way.

There are too many unhappy entrepreneurs that built their businesses by suggestions and requests of others instead of using their own business ideas. Instead of saying no to others’ ideas or requests, they said yes and ended up running businesses they didn’t necessarily like. It’s important to learn now that saying yes to everything can start as a small problem but can end up as a big one.

Learning How to Say ‘No’

Learning how to say a simple 2-letter word isn’t as easy as it may seem, so you have to change the way you think about it: You have to change your entire mindset about the word “no.” No is not a negative. In fact, it’s a way to protect three of the things that you love most: your business, your life, and your sanity.

You must remind yourself that every favor, phone call, extra client, coffee, meeting, or other unnecessary business takes away from the things  you want and really need to be doing, and that time can really add up. Every difficult or underpaying client takes away time that you could be taking on better, nicer, higher paying, and more rewarding clients that can add value to your business. Each unnecessary opportunity takes away valuable resources and time from the projects that really can advance your business.

It’s important to remind yourself that by saying no you are actually saying yes to the things that truly deserve your attention and time, so you’ll have time for the best opportunities for your business when they come. By saying no, you’re able to keep the clients you have and love and give them your attention they deserve.  Only by saying no are you truly able to be the entrepreneur you dreamed of being and doing rewarding work on your own time and your own terms.

Have you learned to say ‘no’, or are you still working on this part of your business? How can you use this 2-letter word more efficiently? Share in the comments area below!

Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Knowing When to Say ‘No’ As an Entrepreneur 1

Haley Lynn Gray

Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


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