The Art Of Saying ‘No’ In Business

Do you ever feel that if you add one more task or activity to your, already, full plate, the plate is going to tip over and shatter into...

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Last Update: May 26, 2015

If you are like many energetic, early-stage, young entrepreneurs, you carry a million tasks and responsibilities on your plate every day. You deal with everything from customer and client interaction to bookkeeping, social media marketing, scheduling and employee management.

You may find yourself dividing time further with commitments to philanthropic endeavors and serving on non-profit boards. Of course, we can’t forget work-life balance with our family and friends. Last, but certainly not least, we must carve out time to eat, sleep and exercise.

Do you ever feel that if you add one more task or activity to your, already, full plate, the plate is going to tip over and shatter into a thousand little pieces?


The Cost of Over-Extending Yourself

As an entrepreneur, it’s desirable to attend networking events, serve in community organizations that need help, and speak to youth groups to encourage their students. However, is it worth our time to accept the responsibility of additional time commitments if it causes us to neglect our current responsibilities?

I remember learning the concept of “opportunity cost” in a college Economics class. Essentially, opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

For example, I could chose to accept an additional committee assignment for a non-profit board of directors that I sit on. However, what would be the opportunity cost to my current entrepreneurial responsibilities?

By accepting a new committee assignment, I may be losing out on time that could be spent on new client acquisition, project management or even time spent on fostering relationships with family and friends. Learning to say “no” is not easy and, just like other important soft skills, takes practice. It also requires an evaluation of what is important to us and our success.


Building a Better Business … and Life

Evaluate what is important to you by outlining those activities that are essential to managing a profitable business and creating a healthy, work-life balance.

Start by creating a vertical list of each hour in the day i.e.. 8am, 9am, 10am, etc. Beside each hour, list how you currently spend that hour, whether it be sleeping, eating, exercising, checking email or social media, volunteer work, etc.

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