Saying No is Harder than Saying Yes

As an entrepreneur, there’s often the desire to say “yes” to many requests. A potential customer wants this one feature added. A partner wants to do a webinar with you as the guest. A community leader wants you on the board. Yes, yes, yes. Only, after looking around, it’s clear that you’re over committed and don’t have time to work on the business.

Saying “no” is harder than saying “yes.” Yet, it’s time to do more of it.

The next time someone asks something of you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When answering this request, am I being intentional with my time?
  • Am I the absolute best person to work on this?
  • How easy is it to delegate this?
  • If I say “yes” to this request, what am I giving up?
  • If I say “no” to this request, what will happen?

Saying “no” is often harder than saying “yes” for many entrepreneurs. The result: too many things to do and not enough time to think. My advice is for entrepreneurs is to get better at saying “no” and being more intentional with their time.

What else? What are some more thoughts on saying “no” being harder than “yes” with requests?

2 thoughts on “Saying No is Harder than Saying Yes

  1. Saying “no” is hard to do when you are working to bring revenue into your business. You are willing to take any work just to bring in the money – hoping that this customer will expand to more customers or larger business. You may suspect that it is not a good or financially viable opportunity but you need the funds. Not every entrepreneur is a tech startup with investors and angels. Many are solo entrepreneurs or “side gig entrepreneurs”, unemployed trying to stay afloat or stretch minimal savings as long as possible. Any work looks good under those circumstances and brings hope that you can expand your business into the viable, profitable business that the marketers and thousands of articles proclaim that you will be – for a nice tidy fee of course. Saying “no” is want you want to be able to do – but that day is far on the horizon. Right now – you are just trying to “be” in business.

  2. Product First organizations have to focus on this. If you say yes to many requests, your product goes from clearly defined to a custom consulting project. In order to say yes or no though, you need a clear idea of your value proposition.

    A founder was asking me about delaying a customer’s deployment until a mobile app was fully functional and I said, “If what we already have [in the existing responsive web app] doesn’t add any value, then having it available as an app isn’t going to help.”

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