How Saying “Yes” Is Holding Back Your Business

Kelowna accountantKelowna accountant Ken Davidson discusses the dangers of saying yes too often and why committing to serving your ideal market is the right long term strategy.

When you’re starting your business you want to get the cash flowing through the door right away so what do you start doing? You start saying “yes” to everything and everybody. By doing this you are not recognizing where your true expertise lies, you are spreading yourself too thin.

When I started as a chartered accountant my saying was, “If they can fog a mirror, they can become a client!” Meaning I would say yes to anything and everything without any real criteria for finding the right match for me as an expert.

The problem with that was it didn’t allow me to specialize and look at what I wanted to do so I ended up working with a lot of people that really weren’t a good fit, essentially they weren’t my ideal clients.

When you start your business and prepare your business plan, you need to decide who your ideal clients are and what service you’re going to provide to those clients – those become the clients you say “yes” to.

Related: 3 Bad Decisions Businesses Make During A Recession


There Are Always Exceptions

You might periodically find that you will say yes to people because you really do require cash flow, be aware that you do not always have to say yes. If you start taking on people that don’t meet what you’re trying to accomplish, you will end up in a business that you don’t enjoy being in and you’re probably not going to be servicing the clients that you are truly great at serving.

Don’t build a reputation on giving mediocre service to clients you don’t specialize in or you won’t earn the kind of referrals that keep specialized professionals and entrepreneurs in business for a long time.


Build Your Referral Network

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When you have an opportunity or client that crosses your plate that doesn’t meet your business goals or objectives and you are inclined to  say yes for the money, step back for a moment. Count to ten and if you still feel like you have to say yes afterwards then take it.

If you are able to pass on the opportunity, then do so gracefully and try to think of someone that you know who is the right fit for that client and connect them.

This is where being able to refer to other people is going to help your business out.  If you can pass on a lead that doesn’t fit your business model to someone who loves to service that particular type of client or opportunity, you open the door to become the top referral for your area of expertise when that person has a lead that doesn’t fit their business model.  Just by saying NO, you can start to build your referral network by passing on leads to the right people and building those relationships that can reciprocate when the time comes.

If you never say no, you will never have any referrals to pass on. If you aren’t passing on any referrals to colleagues, don’t expect to get any in return.


Your Competition Might Not Be Who You Think

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I don’t personally consider other business advisors and Kelowna accountants as competitors. Everyone has his or her own niche, demeanor and type of clients they want to say yes to.

Think about that in your business. If you own a shoe store and you want to become an expert in comfortable, casual hiking sandals then don’t go off and put a custom high-end women’s shoe into your inventory. Don’t try to be Wal-Mart and cater to every interest and demographic out there or you’ll put yourself out of business.

Related: How To Prevent Yourself From Getting Nailed With A Big Tax Bill


Remember Why You Went Into Business

If you’re jumping from one yes to the next yes then you will constantly struggle to focus on your business model, the one that you will actually enjoy. Remember why you went into business in the first place and hold true to your integrity. There’s always going to be exceptions, especially when you first start out, but it’s important to stay the course you set out in your business plan.



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