As you work on your business, you may find various opportunities for you to expand or grow. You’ll be excited about these opportunities, of course, but while many of them will work to your favor, there are some opportunities that function as wolves in sheep’s clothing. These opportunities require more labor, time, or change, which create stress and anxiety  This year, I want you to resolve to say no to any opportunity that doesn’t serve your business vision. If it doesn’t drive success, it’s not worth the stress.

The first step as you move into the new year is to decide what your goals are for your business. Do you want to

  • expand your customer base?
  • create better service for your current customers?
  • start selling to stores?
  • expand your team or downline?
  • introduce new products?
  • build a more focused brand?
  • expand your social media and web presence?
  • educate more people about your products or services?
  • create a community around your brand?

You may be tempted to say ALL OF THE ABOVE, but these are some lofty goals which often lead us to the temptation of mistaken opportunities. Pick one goal and work on that while you work on your business. As you achieve different goals, you can start adding more, but the key to success is to have a clear business vision.

Once you’ve honed-in on your vision, you want to start creating a business plan that will lead you towards achieving that goal. For example, let’s say you’ve chosen to create better service for your current customers. You will want to start collecting information from your current customers about their satisfaction levels and directly ask them what they need. If suddenly you’re posed with the opportunity to expand your downline, it may be tempting, but you should reconsider the timing. Expanding your downline requires a whole new set of responsibilities, such as training, advocating, determining team guidelines – this will distract you from your initial vision.

Another mistake I see many entrepreneurs make is to try and be everywhere and do everything. Avoid signing vendor contracts for every vendor event that comes to your path. Instead, do your research on which events are geared towards your customers and your vision. Ask the event organizer or previous vendors about the event to give you a better idea if that event will serve you; if it doesn’t, then simply say no and move on.

Sometimes you will have a customer who asks you to customize your service. This could take the form of creating a whole new product for him/her or personalized delivery, etc. If the request does not fit your business model, then have no fear is saying no and referring him/her to someone else. Balance time and effort against the rewards. You may have this same customer who is willing to pay for you to fulfill customized requests (and anytime there are custom requests, you should expect compensation for that), but again, consider the time and effort against what you would be gaining.

Also, while you may not have the means or funds to employ others, it does not mean everything has to land on your shoulders. You could hire someone to help clean up around the house or ask whoever you live with to chip in their time. Use various time management tactics to help you organize what you say “yes” or “no” to.

Do not be afraid of losing customers to “no.” In reality, you may lose some, but you’re not losing the customers you want to maintain anyway. Instead, recognize that the “no” you’re giving to one will guide you to opening the doors of many “yeses” to the people you want and are able to serve.

Sometimes saying “no” goes beyond your customers to your personal life. While your small business should never overwhelm you to the point where you’re only focusing on the business, it’s okay to say no to different events or activities. For instance, your friends may want to go out late the night before a big vendor event – while you should absolutely spend time with your friends, you can say no to that one invitation and offer to reschedule to a time when you’re under less pressure. Your true friends will understand as long as you make the effort to reschedule.

Prioritizing your needs as a small business owner is key. You have to take care of your health and wellness above all, and sometimes that means even saying no to your business. Give yourself time off to relax, recharge, and even think of new ideas. If you’re consistently under pressure, you will wear yourself out rendering you unable to make wise business decisions.

What drove your decision to say “no” and how do you feel about that choice today? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

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