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Saying no…

Did you know that you are allowed to say no sometimes? Even to new clients or a long standing client, it is acceptable for you to say no – politely of course!

It is a little silly, but I was reminded of this through the Rat in the Hat! Melissa Khalinsky often uses children’s TV shows to point out business lessons, and in one of her blog posts, she shows how Rat is quite the entrreperuner.

Melissa wrote “Don’t overextend yourself – this is something Rat does often in his quest to meet the needs of everyone on Cuddles Ave. Unfortunately Rat doesn’t know how to say no ” and I had to nod in agreement, both for Rat in a Hat (yes, I’ve watched him, too!) and for many business owners I know.

As a small business owner, it is hard to turn down a client – there’s that little fear that maybe this was the last work request you’d get for 6 months so how can you afford to not do this project? Or maybe it is a fear that saying no will make that person hate you and bad mouth you to other potential clients?

But let’s look at it the other way:

  • if you take on too much work, you will end up doing inferior work for a number of clients, thereby damaging your good reputation
  • if you continue doing too much, you will burn out and really not be able to earn anything for 6 months
  • if one client has found you and asked for a quote, it is likely others can also find you next week and next month
  • a well managed ‘no’ will leave the client feeling positive about you even if you couldn’t do their work – they may try you again another time, or at least tell others you acted professionally
  • do you really think your clients have the time and inclination to bad mouth you just because you couldn’t work for them?

I will cover the various reasons for saying no, and how to say no nicely in the next few blog posts. But for now, just take on the belief that you can say no and the world (or your business!) won’t end!

4 Responses to Saying no…

  • tashword says:

    I recently requested some quotes from a number of suppliers. In my request, I outlined the project and gave a specific deadline.

    One supplier promptly answered politely to say that she couldn’t meet my deadline so had to decline the request. Personally, this gave her a lot more credibility (I had sourced her online so didn’t know if she could live up to her website) and leaves her on the list for next time I may need similar services.

    It was much better to know now that she couldn’t make the deadline, and I respect her for being honest with me.

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  • george says:

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info – I have sometimes done too many clients as I don’t want to offend by saying no. I’m glad that you shared this useful tidbit with us so next time I can maybe say no to lots of jobs. Thanks for telling us these good information.

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