Entrepreneurs, You Need To Learn How To Say “No”

ID-100285616When I first started my business, I had a saying…if you can fog a mirror, then you can become my client. Let’s face it, we’ve all done jobs for the money early on in our careers but once you get educated on what the right client is, you’ll realize you’re doing yourself a disservice by taking on the wrong ones. That’s certainly a lesson that I learned the hard way before quickly correcting course.

When you spend more time working with the wrong clients, that leaves you less time to work with the right clients that see value in the service you’re providing.

The Client Is Not Always Right

To be honest, it can often come down to gut intuition when determining if a client isn’t a right fit – at least that’s what I often rely on. In my experience, the odds are pretty high that your gut is right.

That old saying, the client is always right, is not correct and you have to be careful with that saying because there are good and bad ways of telling clients and potential clients that they are not right for you.

Crossing Boundaries

It’s always a problem when a client wants you to do something you’re not prepared to do for them. As an accountant, I always talk about how I’m prepared to go up to the fence, climb the fence and stand on the fence but don’t ever ask me to go over it.

If you ever ask me to go over the fence, that’s against the law and I’m not doing it. That’s where I draw the line and I won’t cross it for any amount of money. You need to decide upfront what you’re willing to do and set those boundaries with yourself.

If you don’t feel right about something a client wants you to do on an ethical, moral or legal level, you must say no.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

You might say the word “no” but do your actions support it? Sometimes I see business owners say no to a client but then their actions suggest otherwise. When this happens, your client likely won’t stop you which means it’s up to you to say no with your actions.

Let’s say you’re at a chamber meeting and you meet someone that thinks they hit it off with you, wants to do business but you don’t get such a good feeling from them. Instead of following up or networking with them further, you simply don’t follow up and that is saying no with your actions.

If you get a bad feeling and then move forwards anyways, that’s when you put yourself into sticky situations.

You Should Be Having Fun

When I think about the times I’ve said no, it’s because it doesn’t feel right for me in my career and I only want to have fun while I’m in the office. Not only that, I want my staff to have fun while working with the clients or else they’re going to be less motivated when they come to work.

It’s not worth it if I don’t feel like there is going to be that connection with a client because you want to be able to grow with the right clients. That’s key.

Should You Compromise In The Beginning?

A lot of business owners are easily tempted to compromise in the very beginning because of limited cash flow. You need to get past that as quickly as possible and be confident in your own abilities to go out and bring in the right clients.

Don’t compromise your value, integrity, ethics, morals and certainly not the vision you have for your company. If you do, what do you have left in the end?



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