Just Say No and See Your Business Grow

I guess it’s just human nature to want others to like us and think well of us. We are brought up to conform, be polite and meet the expectations of the important or powerful people in our lives. We women are especially indoctrinated with these expectations and sometimes we feel we’re letting people down if we say NO.

However the inability to say NO can become a real hindrance in our businesses. There are certain times when saying NO is essential in order for us to move forward. But often we hesitate, even when we know that NO is the right answer to someone’s request, whether it be a family member, a client, an organization, or even a charity.

Here are some ways saying No can help your business grow:

SITUATION: You have a client who always wants you to do more for them than the work that’s clearly spelled out in your contract, and they want you to do it without charging them extra. I’ve had this situation come up both in my business and with my clients. There are several ways you can say no and prevent this from happening in the future.

SOLUTION:Tell them you’d be happy to do the work and exactly how much extra that would cost. If they seem unhappy, review the contract with them and explain that their request was not included in the scope of the work they paid for. If instead, you agree to do the extra work without getting paid, you de-value your time and you train them to do the same with you again, or with someone else.

To avoid this happening in the future, continue to refine the language in your contract to set clear boudaries on what is included in your service and to define in more detail what isn’t included. This means clear, precise language about the amount time you will be spending on the project and what cooperation you need from your client in order to do the best job possible.

SITUATION: Someone wants to hire you or your company and tries to talk down your rate or price to a level where the job is only marginally profitable, or will take an inordinate amount of time. You think you need to accept because you feel guilty saying NO and turning down work.

SOLUTION: If you don’t value your worth as an expert; if you don’t believe you are providings significant value to your clients; if you don’t have a clear understanding of how to reach your profit goals–who will? Go for ideal clients, or at least clients who really value what you do for them and say NO to the rest. You will end up with a more profitable business, and you’ll be happier and much less stressed.

SITUATION: You are asked to serve on a committee or on the board of a business association and you feel overwhelmed at the idea and the time it will take. You feel guilty saying NO, worrying that you will offend or be looked upon poorly.

SOLUTION; You need to have a lifestyle plan that includes time for all priority activities first, like serving clients, marketing, family time etc. After that, if there’s time to spare, go ahead and sign up. If not, politely explain that you’re flattered, but that you’ll need to consider it in the future as you feel you couldn’t do the quality job that the organization needs done at this time because of time constraints.

SITUATION: You have an employee or virtual assistant who is no longer an asset to your business. She is costing you time and frustration but you keep putting off saying no to her continued employment with you.

SOLUTION: You’re not helping her by avoiding the inevitable. She may no longer be a fit for your business. Let her move in to a job that is a better fit. Your business changes and so do your needs. As difficult as it is to let her go, do it in a professional and compassionate way and move on.

I think you’re getting the drift here. Try saying NO on time demands that give you a knot in the pit of your stomach and suddenly you’ll begin to feel more powerful and in control of your business and your life.

True entrepreneurs have mastered this.

To you success,


1 Comment
  • Wendy Cooper
    Posted at 14:20h, 06 November Reply

    Hi Janis,

    I could not agree more.

    Can I add one?

    Just because you can do the work doesn’t mean you have to say yes to the work. I find that a lot of people know that I am fairly techy and can do a bunch of stuff that maybe they have a hard time figuring out. So instead of saying no, you say yes and end up doing work that you know how to do but you don’t enjoy doing or isn’t something you don’t normally do for anyone but yourself. This means you’re stepping out of your niche too, which isn’t always good.

    Awesome post!

    Always go with your gut – if it’s telling you no then you should listen.

    Wendy Cooper

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