For a number of psychological reasons, we as human beings often find it difficult to say no to people. Combine this with an ambitious business mind that wants to say yes to all new opportunities, this can often land us in some sticky situations.
It’s no surprise that saying yes to all the exciting opportunities that come your way might actually be detrimental to all the work on the table, leaving you with insufficient time to succeed at each task. If you choose to take on work outside of your usual business remit, you also run the risk of losing sight of what made your business a success to begin with.
Ultimately, you need to think about you as a business owner and person – there’s only one of you and if you said yes to everything, you’d be at your laptop 24/7!
My key piece of advice for those who are struggling to say no is simply - don’t be afraid! To you, it can feel like you’re letting someone down, but really, you need to put the needs of your business first. Plus, it’s way better to say no to something at the outset than to overpromise then find yourself underdelivering due to lack of time or proficiency.
In terms of how to effectively say no, I have covered a few tips in my video above. Saying no doesn’t need to be something that makes you feel awkward or guilty. I always express gratitude that the person has thought of me and then follow with the explanation that I am currently focusing on a particular goal right now. For example: “Thank you so much for getting in touch. At the moment, my business and team are focusing all of its energy on [insert project/goal/focus], so I’ll have to politely decline this opportunity on this occasion. Thank you again and all the best with the project.”
Learning to say ‘no’ politely in such a way as this can result in a speedy, productive, and honest conversation and leaves you both on good terms.