Being an entrepreneur is hard but to me the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is using the word “no”. To some, saying no comes naturally, to me, not so much. As a result, I have become a “yes” man. My default instinct and answer is to say yes. I know I’m not the only one and the lack of use of the word no is causing your business to fail.
What, then, is so wrong with saying yes? Surely being helpful is not a bad thing, right? As the proverb says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, so is the road to failure. Here are a few reasons why always saying yes is a bad thing:
- There are only 24 hours in a day, saying yes to everything means the number of things that can get done in that day is significantly reduced because you have now made a commitment to something and someone else.
- You disappoint people. No matter how much you try to do the right thing and attempt to do what you say you will do you inevitably will disappoint someone. Be it a client, employee, friend, family member or yourself, something on your agenda will get pushed aside to accommodate something else and the person who was depending on you to deliver will not be happy. They won’t come out and tell you straight away because usually you’ll be doing whatever it is for free but that won’t stop them from feeling disappointed and frustrated.
- You become known as a person who can’t be trusted. At the end of the day, your word is the only thing you have that no one can take away from you except you and if you keep breaking your word the level of trust that people put into you will be less and less.
- As a result of the previous point, people will be less likely to refer you because they don’t want to damage their reputation. No matter how good you are, if you don’t do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, you’ll get no referrals.
Should you say no to everything? Erm, no! The word no is a tool that should be used liberally but not for everything. It is important to look at the situation and decide honestly if you can accept the commitment that saying yes will bring. Before answering, try asking yourself these questions:
- How much time will this take?
- If I say no, how will it affect me?
- If I say no, how will it affect the other person?
- Will doing this benefit your business goals?
One important thing to remember is that you should never do things just because you feel that you must do it because of some misplaced sense of loyalty.
Take your time and don’t worry about what other people will think if you decline because it’s your reputation that’s at stake at the end of the day.