Are You Saying Yes When You Should Say No?

Are you saying yes when you should say no in business? If so, you aren’t alone. As a mama in business it’s only natural to want to say yes and take on all the things OR not know what things are okay to let go of. But if we don’t learn how to say no early on, we can find ourselves burned out and resenting our businesses AND possibly even our families. So, if saying no is something you struggle with, you’re in the right place. On today’s episode we’re chatting about three ways you might be saying yes when you should say no and how to navigate each of these situations. Sound like something you need? Then, let’s get started.

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Are You Saying Yes When You Should Be Saying No in Business?

Well hey there and welcome to this episode of Mama Business. I’m Sarah and I’m so glad you are here with me today. One of my favorite things about recording these podcasts is that it’s quiet in my house. The older members of my family are at school right now and my son, who’s 18 months old, is taking a nap. It’s blissful. But whether this episode catches you in the middle of a quiet moment or complete chaos, I think it makes it all the more important for us – as busy mamas – to get comfortable with saying no to anything and everything that might take us away from the somethings or someones that matter most to us. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s critical if we want to grow a business without sacrificing our families.

And, as someone who’s experienced burnout in business – I can say honestly say this is something I wish I’d prioritized earlier on. So, I’m hopeful that this blesses you today and gives you the encouragement you need to say no moving forward.

While there are probably a gazillion things you could choose to say no to in business, today I want to focus on three things that I think are especially hard for small business owners. So, without further ado, let’s just jump right in.

Taking on Things Outside of Your Wheelhouse

The first way I see a lot of business owners say yes when they should say no is when they take on a project that’s outside of their wheelhouse.

I used to be someone that said yes to everything when it came to client work. Here’s the thing: I’m really good at a lot of things. Not to mention, I enjoy learning which means that if you ask me to do something, I’m happy to research the process and figure out how to make it work. In fact, that marks the entirety of my first year in business. A client would ask me for something and I’d figure out exactly how to make it work.

But here’s the deal – I figured out very quickly that a successful business, you know – one that makes money and doesn’t result in burnout, has to be something in which you can repeat the same result over and over again for your client or customer.

For example, if you coach women in weight loss, then you have a certain plan that you follow with each and every client that gets results in the form of weight loss. Sure, not everyone’s results will be exactly the same, but the end result will be weight loss through your program. If your program is diet pills, but someone comes to you asking for meal plans, that’s outside of your wheelhouse. It doesn’t fit as part of your optimized business plan.

Likewise, if you own a leaf blowing business and a client asks you to do some roof repair, that doesn’t make business sense either. Why? Because the result you get your clients in eliminating leaves takes a whole different skillset and toolbox than roof repair does. It won’t end with the result you or your client wants.

So, what can you do when you find yourself in a situation like this?

  • Let them know that you don’t offer that as part of your business.
  • Let them know that hadn’t considered that as a business offering, but will give some thought as to how it might play into your future goals.
  • Learn of and refer to other professionals with that skill. Find a roof repair company that’s reputable and start sending those requests their direction. Bonus, if you take the time to forge a relationship, this could end up being a win for everyone if that person also has people needing a leaf blowing service.

Now, if you are getting multiple requests for this thing, you might want to consider creating an offer around it in addition to or instead of the one you are already have.

So, the first way you should say no in business is when it comes to taking on projects outside of your wheelhouse. And that brings us to the second way to say no in business and that’s when it comes to scheduling meetings or projects into time you either don’t have or time that’s been allocated to something else.

Scheduling Meetings or Projects Into Time You Don’t Have

Whew. This is a doozy. But it’s something that I see happening a lot, especially when it comes to new business owners. I think the reason for that is because when you are just starting out you might not have as many clients or income sources, and that means that when something does come up, you want to jump all over it.

And that’s great – IF you actually have the time. But if you know you don’t have any childcare this week or you have another client project that’s nearing completion, it’s time to reconsider. Because no one wants to deal with that sickening feeling when you realize you promised a client a result that you can’t get them in the time alloted. OR the sleep deprivation. OR whatever it might be.

So, what can you do when you find yourself in a situation like this?

  • Offer your time when you are available. For appointments, you might have to push them out a week or two so that it’s feasible. Personally, I find when someone needs an answer for me and I don’t have the time in the immediate future to have a call, they turn it into an email and it’s quickly checked off the list. So…something to consider.
  • Offer your services during a time period – once again – that you have availability. Maybe you let them know you’d like to get them on the schedule starting on a certain date. Most service based businesses, especially, don’t schedule you for same day services. Why? Because they already have a load of commitments before you. And normally that means that they offer a great result, which is why it takes a little time to get in. Trust me, if you get clients results, they won’t mind waiting until you have the availability to focus on their project.

So, the first way you should say no in business is when it comes to taking on projects outside of your wheelhouse. and the second way is when it comes to scheduling meetings or projects into time you either don’t have or time that’s been allocated to something else.

Keeping Something or Someone Around Just Because

And that brings us to the final thing we’re going to chat about today and that’s to say no to keeping something around just because it’s been there all along or it’s worked in the past.

If you’re just starting out in business, this might not be something you have to deal with just yet, but there’s no better time than the beginning to practice eliminating things that just aren’t working.

This could include:

Employees that don’t show up on time or don’t have the skill set you need.

Product or service offerings that no longer feel right

Tools or programs that no longer get the results you want

Strategies that no longer work

…or just about anything else in your business.

As business owners we tend to hang on to things in our businesses a lot longer than we should because if it worked at one point, we believe that it should continue to do so. But that’s just not the truth. As your business grows, the needs change. Programs and strategies that once worked become irrelevant and employees or contractors that once filled a need might not anymore. That’s okay. The sooner you can identify those issues and say no to them going forward, the better you and your business will be in the long-run.

I had an amazing virtual assistant work with me for nearly two years. She helped with organization, worked a bit with some content creation, and even helped with social media management. I loved getting to work with her. But, just over a year ago, I decided to move those responsibilities in house and we parted ways. Sure, it was hard, but it made the most sense for the business at the time. Say no wasn’t easy, but I don’t regret that decision at all.

Take Action: Say No in Business

So, quick recap. The three ways you should say no in business include:

  1. When it comes to taking on projects outside of your wheelhouse
  2. When it comes to scheduling meetings or projects you just don’t have the time for
  3. When it comes to keeping something or someone around just because

Of course, there are many others that could have been included in this list, but these are the three that I think are most critical, especially for new business owner.s

And that brings us to the action part of this episode. And I love this part, because I know that action is where the dreams turn into the reality.

TODAY’S ACTION STEP: Take a few minutes to think about one way you need to say no in business over the next week. It could be that you are taking on projects that aren’t in your wheelhouse, scheduling things that you just don’t have time for, or are keeping something or someone around that is no longer necessary. It might even be something else. But, my guess is that you have a gut feeling and know exactly what that thing or things might be. Make the decision to say no. Because when you say no to that thing or things, you get to say yes to something else. Even if it’s just a quiet moment alone to record a podcast episode.

I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram and let me know what you’re saying no to so that I can cheer you on throughout the process. Because, mama, I am cheering you on.

Have an awesome day and I’ll chat with you next time.

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