You must learn to say no as an entrepreneur.

One of the characteristics of successful people is that they have made an effort to learn to SAY NO. Lots of times we want to be so nice, we want to keep others happy while we don’t discover that in pleasing others; we end up unhappy and infringing on our success.

One of the things I have discovered along the lines of business is that many opportunities will come your way and if you are not careful, you will keep jumping from one business to another.

This will definitely not help you in the long run as you will be trading the most important stuff for less. It is important that you learn the art of saying no as an entrepreneur so you can focus all your efforts on what you are doing.

The power of focus.

The power of focus can never be over-emphasised. Remember the school science experiment: When light rays from the sun are focused on a piece of paper using magnifying glass, they cause a fire. You can read the full experiment here. This proves the power of focus.

This actually counts for almost everything we do in life. If you are going to be a jack of all trades, then you will most probably become a master of none.

This doesn’t mean you cannot be good at many things. You will be good at many things if you choose to, but thats all you will be able to achieve -‘good’, which is not enough. However, focus will help you become excellent.

Saying NO is an art.

Saying no should be in your regular repatoire because you will most probably need it on daily basis. Many opportunities will be presented to you, however, if you learn to SAY NO, decision making will be alot easier.

Whenever you SAY NO, there is usually a short term impact on the relationship because whoever made the request might be disappointed. This however, is usually followed by respect in the long-run which obviously is more important than popularity, especially for an entrepreneur. They will not keep coming back to throw anything at you anyhowly.

In writing this post, i am not tring to mean that all the requests and all the proposals that will come to you will be of no importance. All i am saying is; Are they more important than what you are doing? If you think they are not, then saying no will be the only thing to do.

You don’t always to answer on the spot.

Learning the SLOW YES, and the QUICK NO is another great consideration.

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and NOT SAYING NO soon enough

Josh Billings

Important considerations to help you SAY NO.

1. Separate the decision from the relationship.

Its important to note that denying the request is not the same as denying the person. Even though the immediate effect might be a feeling of dissapointment, it will not last long. It will instead bring in respect.

2. Focus on the trade-off.

Trade off is the balance achieved between two desirrable but incompatible features. So ask yourself; What am i giving up? What am i gaining?

3. Get over the fear of missing out.

It will always look like you are missing out on something when you say no. However, there is one thing you definitely don’t want to miss out on and that’s your dream. Lack of focus, saying a quick yes to others while you should have thought about it and probably say no, will cost you time, money and opportunities.

4. Use e-mail automation.

You can use automated emails when you are dealing with a very important project. You can let others know you are not available to respond to them in the mean-time.

5. Be purpose driven when making choices.

Never be afraid of being judged. Focus on your goals and plans. Say yes to things in line with your vision and no to all the others.

6. Have a focus.

Don’t try to be good at everything. Don’t jump onto every trending business. Remember “Grass is always greener on the other side” which means the trending businesses have their own challenges that you will only get to know while you are in.

7. Have strong convictions.

Believe in what you are doing. If you think what you are doing is very important then the distractions are not worth it. Always consider a “no” as just an answer.

8. Avoid committment traps.

If you have already committed yourself and it was against what you would have wished to do, then find a way to gracefully apologise and uncommit.

SAYING NO doesn’t have to mean using then word NO

Here are afew suggestions of what you might choose to answer rather than using the word No. These will help you in delivering a graceful NO, one that leaves both parties happy.

  • You can say – “Let me check my calender and get back to you.” . This will give you time to think about the decision you are going to make rather than being spotted.
  • Another way is – ” I would so much like to but i am rather committed” . You don’t always have to tell the person what you are doing.
  • You can also say – ” I am flatterd that you thought of me, however, i am sorry i might not be of much help right now.”. Again, you don’t always have to tell them what you are doing if you don’t want to.
  • Another suggestion would be – ” I am consumed with working on this project right now, let me know if we can still get together at the end of summer”In this case, you are nicely suggesting when next you would be available.
  • You can  say No to your boss at work by saying – “Yes, what should i depriotise in order to help you with this request”.

If you always say “yes”, then you are most probably saying no to yourself, to your goals, and to your entire dream.

Related articles:

12 Daily habits of successful entrepreneurs.