Why saying no is an important part of running a business

Why saying no is an important part of running a business

Reading Time: 2 minutes

7th May 2021

When you start a business, the dream is usually to work when you want, how you want and with the people you want.

Yet how many of us still have those days when, at the end of it, we bang our heads on the desk, or any other nearby object (preferably not living) and wonder why on Earth we just wasted our time on a particular job, or a particular person. Why didn’t we just say no?

The difficulty for business owners

As a business owner myself, and someone who has always had difficulty with the feeling of letting someone down, the thought of saying no to a client, or an associate, or even a supplier can be overwhelming.

And when you start out in business you want to take whatever job or client is out there. It’s income after all. (Hint: this is a bad idea!)

Know your ideal customer?

The best business coaches and advisors will always tell us – “Know your ideal customer”, but how many of us really do?

Knowing your ideal customer doesn’t just mean you have to like them, though that helps of course.

It means they fit with your ideals, your values. They fit the age group and demographic that you work best with, and that you can and want to help. They provide the type of work that you are interested in doing. And they are prepared to pay the right price.

There is no better experience in business than working with our ideal customer. It brings a smile to our faces. It’s what we went into business to do.

But It's not always like that!

Contrast that with the days that end with the headbanging.

We have just wasted our time, doing what we don’t want to do, dealing with people we don’t want to deal with and generally feeling fed up, or worse.

A Counsellor will tell us how ridiculous (probably not using that word!) we are. Rather than saying no for fear of upsetting someone, we have piled all the misery on ourselves. And yes, they would be right.

An Accountant, like me, will tell us we have just wasted time and money that could be better served dealing with the right client or going out into the world to find one. And they would be right too.

Think money in your pocket!

Bad days, doing the wrong kind of work for you, are not just exhausting, they are costly. They affect your business profitability and its potential for growth. They affect the money in your pocket!

Perhaps thinking about it in actual money terms will help us all to realise that saying no is an important part of running a business.

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