How Learning to Say ‘No’ Can Improve Your Business

The word “no” is a unique word that despite its negative connotations, is capable of positive consequences when used correctly. For example, when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, and you say no, you immediately know that someone is unhappy with such a response. However, in your mind, it feels like a positive outcome, because you’ve prevented yourself from doing something you don’t want to do.

But, saying no sometimes isn’t always that easy, it can feel rude and blunt. When it comes to business, learning to say ‘no’, can actually improve your business more than you may think. Customers and other businesses will often try to get the better of you, whether they try to drive down prices or try to secure discounts and deals. That’s the nature of business; everyone wants to cut costs to make their business more profitable.

But why should you sacrifice your business to enhance someone else’s profitability? You shouldn’t, and that’s when it’s time to say no. Well, don’t just say no, provide sound reasoning and an explanation, so people understand why. If you don’t offer a reason, you just look like your being stubborn and narrow-minded.

We have all been in those situations where there is no explanation to the response you’ve been given, and you can’t stop yourself from wondering why. Give your staff, customers and clients good reason for saying no and they will accept your answer. They may not like it, but they will come to understand it at least. It shows you have taken into account their proposition, but you have good reason to decline.

Saying ‘No’ to Benefit Profitability

Saying no to clients and customers is something that is not generally well accepted in the business world. But, by accepting customer propositions for deals and discounts, you’re setting a dangerous precedent, and decreasing the likelihood of your revenue targets being reached.

Often saying yes to your clients, will hurt your profits and will reduce the level of motivation you have to sell products at the right price and the time you have in which to do so. Say no to customers in the first instance; if you relent, then there’s a good chance, that won’t be the last time something will be asked of you.

If you want to go above and beyond for your clients without them asking, that’s one thing, since it’s all in the name of excellent service, but don’t be tempted to doll out favours, it seldom ends well.

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings

Using “No” to Enhance the Working Environment

When you say no to someone, it psychologically puts you further out of reach of the person asking you for something, and you are showing them that you have the confidence to say no. Providing a reason will reinforce your stance, while also satisfying the other person with an explanation which they are less likely to argue with.

However, you don’t want to create a bad working environment by always saying no. It is vital to always come up with an alternative if you don’t feel comfortable agreeing to the proposition. Don’t be stubborn though, if someone genuinely has a good suggestion, do what’s best for the business. It goes to show you are a team player, and they are more likely to respect your decisions in the future.

Saying No to a Superior

When someone above you has given you a task to complete within a specific time frame, and it’s impossible to get it finished, it can be disheartening and harmful to the business. Saying no to those in positions of authority may be daunting, but sometimes it needs to be done.

Tell them why it’s not possible to complete the task in the allotted time frame. You’ll then be able to work together to come up with a solution. Also, you as a worker, will be more satisfied with the time frame given and be more motivated to complete the task.

Saying no to someone higher than you in the business hierarchy can be of enormous benefit to the business. You don’t want management to make plans based around their expectations of you only to find that it simply isn’t achievable, as this will set back what they had planned. So, it is important that you are honest when providing input.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

Why Do People Say Yes?

People normally say yes to please others but trying to please everyone can weigh you down as it eventually becomes difficult to meet their expectations. If you’re unsure about saying yes or no, think about whether saying yes could:

  • Reduce the likelihood of profitability
  • Diminish your reputation as an appropriate management figure
  • Decrease staff morale and respect levels
  • Clients/customers start to take advantage of your generosity

Ultimately, the ability to say no can lead to staff respecting you and let customers know where the line is, and all while reducing the impact on revenue. Saying “no” can put you in a position of power!

Do you struggle saying no to people? If so, have you found a way to help you learn to say no and potentially improve your life? Share your stories with us below!

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