What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur

Why to Just Say No Part 1

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Saying yes to a customer isn't always the right thing to do and it can land you in trouble. Save your business reputation and maintain good customer relations by saying NO!

If you run a small business of your own, at some point or another you've probably taken on jobs that are outside of your jurisdiction.

We've all had those headache jobs and the nightmare customers. This can happen all too easily; you say yes to something that you are not entirely suited to do, when you've no time to do it. At the root of this is probably an innate willingness to please others, so it's not really surprising that many newcomers to the world of running a business fall foul of this error.

We say yes when we should say no for five key reasons:

  • We feel obliged to give what we see as a positive answer.
  • We mistakenly think that NO is always negative.
  • We think we'll disappoint people if we can't service their needs.
  • We want to be helpful.
  • We are reluctant to refer business elsewhere because that feels like aiding the competition.

Being unable to say no when you really should, can be disastrous. Let's look in more detail at the five key points above.

  • We feel obliged:
  • It's human nature to want to please. When we are in business we have it drummed into us that the customer comes first and is always right. So when a client asks us to do something, even if we know deep down it is outside of our capabilities, we are compelled to say yes.
  • However, doing so if we aren't equipped to fulfill our promise to the client can be far more damaging to our business reputation and customer relations than giving an honest no for an answer.
  • We mistakenly think that NO is always negative:
  • Remember when you were a kid being told 'There's no such thing as can't.'? Our reluctance to say no to someone we want to please seems to stem from this sort of mindset. We've had it drummed into us. But a positive and honest No answer is far better than a false and misleading Yes.
  • We think we'll disappoint people if we say we can't service their needs:
  • The truth is we are far more likely to disappoint if we agree to do something and then fail to deliver or provide less than top quality service.
  • We want to be helpful:
  • Naturally we want to be as helpful as possible in business. But, again, if we stretch ourselves timewise, skill wise, resource wise, or simply in terms of trying to please when our business isn't set up for a particular task we can end up being more of a hindrance than a help - to both ourselves and our customer. When things go wrong because we've agreed to something we shouldn't have done, that customer won't be ours for long.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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