Knowing when to say “no” to opportunity is just as important as knowing when to say “yes.”
Growing your company is exciting and it’s tempting to pursue a good opportunity when you see it. Saying “no” does not come naturally to most of us. While you might be afraid to turn down an opportunity because you’re afraid of making the wrong decision, keep in mind that always saying “yes” to everything is an equally poor choice. If you don’t take the time to hone a disciplined approach, you could end up hurting your company’s growth.
Here are two big reasons why you should say “no.”
- You have limited resources – No matter how big your company, you have a finite amount of time, money and human resources. Realistically it’s impossible for a company to chase every idea and still be successful. Think about it this way, if you’re walking along a path and get to a fork in the woods, there’s no way to turn both right and left at the same time. You have to decide to go one way or the other.
- Not all ideas are equal – As a company you should be pursuing the best ideas, which means you’ll have to say no to others. It’s not that those other ideas are necessarily bad; its just that they are not the best option for your company at this point. Don’t dilute your efforts by chasing after silver, when you should really be reaching for gold.
A Disciplined Process
Having a process for evaluating and prioritizing opportunities will help you decide which ones are worthwhile. First, make sure you establish a strategy and have alignment on your company goals for growth. Once you’ve establish your strategy, develop a rubric with objective metrics so you can benchmark each opportunity systematically. By forcing yourself to objectively evaluate your growth options, you will ensure you focus your limited time and resources on the best options for your company. Determining when to say “yes,” or “no” is an important business skill that will help you be successful, focused and strategic as you grow your company.