Choosing to say no, as a small business

I did a little post on Instagram a few days ago, about choosing to say no and it seemed to resonate with some of you.  I also referenced it in my post about not signing up for Pan-European FBA.

I’ve been thinking about it some more this week, as I decided not to enter the Loved By Parents awards, despite winning last year.  

Again, this may seem like an odd decision.  My reasoning is, that while the award win made me feel good, I didn’t see a return on investment.  Therefore, I didn’t see the value in repeating it – especially as I now knew the time and effort it would take.

The reality of being a small business

For any small business, both money and time are limited.  If it takes time, effort and money to do something (for example, to submit an entry, then canvas for votes) you need to think very carefully about whether that’s a worthwhile investment.

I’m absolutely not saying you shouldn’t enter this award – or any others – but I am saying that you need to think through any decision involving time and / or money, and any other resources, carefully and consider if it truly will serve you.

Before saying no (or yes!) to anything, here are some things to think about:

Whether you’re just jumping on the bandwagon

There are SO many opportunities and things you could be doing. If you’re on social media, or you go to networking events you probably get a bit of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  This is not a good reason to do something! Not every opportunity will be right for you.

What your goals are and if this any decision you take is moving you closer

I spoke about this when I joined All By Mama. Before making any decisions, you need to remember what your goals are (hopefully you have them jotted down somewhere!) and whether this is moving you any close to achieving them.  

If the timing is right

It doesn’t always have to be a ‘no’ – it can sometimes be a ‘not now’.  You can always put things off until a later date. Perhaps diarise it to review or keep a list of opportunities / ideas that you like, but aren’t right for you / your business at the moment.

Whether this is something you’ve done before, therefore you feel you need to carry on.

This is a big one.  We’ve all been there.  You’ve subscribed to that programme, gone to that event, entered that award, year after year and it’s just become the way you do things.  That doesn’t mean you need to carry on! Choosing to say ‘no more’ is probably the hardest of all, but it might be better than carrying on as you are, just because stopping or changing is an effort.  

This could be anything – perhaps continuing with paid PPC advertising where you don’t see a return on investment, or subscriptions to groups you never use.  Even signing up to newsletters or blogs, that you don’t have time to read (therefore stressing you out that they’re sat in your inbox! (GDPR is actually very good for this, as if something no longer interests you, it should go away!)

Next time you have something come up for renewal, do an honest review of the past year and think about whether you can do without it.  For example, I’ve spent money on Leadpages and haven’t seen much return – in terms of email sign up, or actual sales. When it comes to renewal, I think I’ll either go without, or find a cheaper alternative.

And finally remember…

If you start doing something new, you may well need to stop doing something else (even if just temporarily) to make space for it, so you don’t get overwhelmed. There are only so many hours in the day (and week!) and putting more and more on your plate without taking anything off won’t end well.

What should you say yes to?

This article has mainly been about saying no – but of course you must say yes too!

If you follow the suggestions above, and think through your decisions carefully (rather than getting carried away with excitement, as I’ve been prone to do!), you shouldn’t go far wrong.