As my business has grown in size and scale over the years, I have realised a strange phenomenon. When you start, saying yes is what you need to do to get ahead. Any opportunity that you identify, you jump on it and make something of it.
However, as you grow and mature, you find that many opportunities come to you and knowing which ones to say no to can make all the difference.
Here are three ways to know when to say no in your business:
- Measure each request against your strategy. Does it serve that strategic future? Does it increase the speed to market of your existing strategy? If it does, great – grab it. If not, it may mean you need to tuck it away for a later time, or just outright say no to it, even if it does seem like a good opportunity.
- Assess the person and their professional background that is bringing you an opportunity. If you don’t know them well, it is important to ask around about their reputation and past successes. The last thing you want is someone who is going to tarnish your business reputation via something they have done in their professional past that may reflect on you. Or, they may not have delivered for others – which is always good know before you get into a business relationship with them. Don’t always assume that people are what they appear to be, check it out and do your due diligence.
- Can you afford it? That sounds like a boring and obvious question, but you need to understand the real cost of implementing something new outside of your existing strategy. What people resources will it take? How much of your time will it require? Can it be funded by your existing cash flow? Often we go into new initiatives without really assessing the true cost and the factor most often overlooked is your time. At the end of the day time is any business owners’ real asset and the reason why you need to value it above any other asset you have.
While opportunity is a mainstay of any business, it’s just important to know which opportunities not to take. Good luck and choose wisely.
When have you let a business opportunity pass by? I’d like to know why.
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