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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Saying No In Business

Saying No in business is becoming an art and is an absolute must. Bill Burnham captures this succintly when he writes about saying NO to entrepreneurs. Bill writes it is essential while saying no to be:
Honest: It’s tempting to use a convenient excuse, but you and the entrepreneur are both better off if you are upfront and honest. .
Specific: To the extent that you can be specific, you owe entrepreneurs the real reasons for why you are saying “no”. Not only is this the right, professional thing to do, but it will also help force you to make sure you are making the right decision.
Quick: A fast "no" is much better than a long draw out “no”, both for the entrepreneur and for you.

( Via Slacker Manager) Skip writes in CTO’s corner about Jim Collins saying "Great" companies have a better sense of focus of their execution is the idea to start putting together a "Stop doing" List and lists common areas where this can be tried out in business.
"The customer is always right." - Slogan used often in reference to providing good customer service. But, what if the customer is wrong? What if you are providing a product or service and they just don't understand how it intended to be used and uses it incorrectly? They need to understand where you are coming from.Too often, we react to customers' need too quickly and don't understand what their real problem is (which usually isn't the problem that they are communicating).
"Every customer is a good customer"- While it is true for profit-based companies to have customers in order to stay in business, there is such a thing as having a bad customer. Find out how this potential customer treats their other vendors as well as their particular customers. You can learn a lot about how they will treat your organization. If they are coming from a competitor, really try and understand why they are leaving them and coming to you. There are bad customers who can become high maintenance and take service away from the rest of your customers. How will your other customers feel about that?
"Every opportunity is a good opportunity". This kind of goes along with the previous statement, but focusing on what products and services you provide to which industries. Diversification and ability to service and nichefication strategies are important and should be factored in. Getting into the wrong opportunities not only takes you away from the good things that have kept you in business but could come with costs that could hurt the bottom line of profitability and possibly end your business. Opportunities come with risks, just make sure you understand what they are and if it is worth the gamble.
Motherood goody goody statements are fine- but bottomline- here are times to say YES and keep on your "to do" list. There are also times where it is best to say no and add to your "stop doing" list.Saying NO is never easy but has to be done.

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