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The courage to say “no”

Why do we business owners struggle so much with that little word?

When first starting a business, saying “no” may not be an option. But there comes a time when saying “no” is the best thing we can do for ourselves, our clients, and even potential clients.

Reasons we don’t say “no”:

  • If I say “no” to this client, when will I get another client?
  • If I say “no” I’ll let them down.
  • “Everyone” is our potential client and I should never say no.
  • If I say “no”, they will be upset.
  • Saying “no” might end a business relationship or friendship.

Why we should say no:

  • My calendar is full.
  • This client doesn’t fit my ideal client profile.
  • I really don’t want to work with this client.
  • This work doesn’t fit well with the menu of services I offer.
  • I will let *myself* down if I don’t say no.
  • Sometimes it is time for a business relationship to end.

Is it easy to say “no”? If it was, we wouldn’t struggle with it so much. We need to give ourselves permission to say “no” and not feel like we let the world down when we do. I write this as a reminder to myself, not as a means to assign blame.

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6 thoughts on “The courage to say “no”

  1. T. J. Pate

    Jody, Thanks for all of your helpful insight! The courage to say or even hear “no” is always a challenge. Thanks for sharing. I’m off to read the book now.
    T. J.

  2. Jody Post author

    I’m glad you liked my blog.

    If you found the value pricing book from Freshbooks useful, check out the books by Ron Baker. He’s the industry guru on value pricing. Heavy reading but lots of good info.

  3. Ann-Marie Sampson

    Thanks Jody!
    I find it very hard to say no sometimes, then I have to remind myself of some of the points you mentioned. I usually feel quite good after the initial guilt!

  4. Jody Post author

    That guilt trip is probably the biggest reason I don’t say no. However, it can be very empowering to say no and not let ourselves and other down.

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