How many times have you said “yes” when you really should have said “no?”
Entrepreneurs are notoriously good at staying perpetually busy. This is because they tend to be experts at saying “yes,” and struggle with saying “no,” usually at the expense of their effectiveness and sometimes even their health.
Saying no effectively eliminates the possibility of over-promising and under-delivering. Here are Martin Zwilling’s 10 Tips to Help you Flex those “No Muscles” as an entrepreneur:
- Set Boundaries – know your priorities and limits and follow the rules you establish.
- Check Your Calendar – Double booking and over scheduling will not only induce stress, but will lead to client disappointment.
- Follow Your Instincts – If something seems off, and your gut is saying “no,” you should really stop to think before saying “yes.”
- Discuss Pro/Cons – Talk to someone you trust before making an important decision. Hearing yourself talk things through will make red flags more apparent.
- Go for Win-Win – Every business transaction should be mutually beneficial, make sure that what you’re getting out of the project will be worth the time you spend on it.
- Explain Constraints – Before automatically saying no, try explaining why you are considering turning down the opportunity. The person may be able to accommodate these constraints.
- Say Yes to the Person – Although you’re saying no to the opportunity, make it a point to do it in a way where you’re not rejecting the person. That way the “no” isn’t personal.
- Sandwich Your No’s – The formula should be positive – “no” – positive. It makes your response more agreeable.
- Defer the Decision – If you feel yourself overwrought or aggravated, wait to answer until you’re in a better state of mind.
- Be Non-Defensive – State your “no” clearly with a smile so that there’s no room for miscommunication.
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While saying “yes” opens doors to new possibilities for most career-minded adults, it is the entrepreneur’s responsibility to say, “no” far more often to be successful. She must say no to product variations that haven’t been market validated, no to conferences that are not aligned with the growth strategy, and no to off-the-cuff ideas that on the surface sound exciting, but ultimately drain needed resources or distract from the mission. Which of these 10 ways to say no is most appealing to you and how have you used it?
Bill Ringle is a CEO, former Apple exec, published author, and angel investor. Through Grow Business Now, he offers strategies and tools to elevate growth for executives and entrepreneurs from more than 46 industries. Bill has conducted nearly 200 podcast interviews on My Quest for the Best, where industry and business leaders share their secrets to success.