Grow Your Business by Saying No

by Stephanie Ward on December 3, 2009 · 15 comments

in Articles, Blog, Business Strategy, Focus, Marketing

Grow Your Business By Saying No Stephanie Ward



As a business owner your time is precious.

You probably have multiple requests from people that are pulling you in many directions.

But, if you say yes to every invitation that comes your way, you will not have time for the activities that are critical to growing your business.

What I frequently hear from my clients is that they don’t have enough time for everything that needs to be done in their businesses.

Since we all have the same amount of time, it really comes down to making choices.

So how do you know what to choose?

Start by making a list of the strategic activities that are essential to the growth of your business. These are the actions to say yes to.

Say no to anything that doesn’t fall under your strategic activities. This is what it means to set business boundaries.

It may sound simple, but many people find that saying no is an extremely difficult thing to do.

What’s keeping you from saying no more often?

Reasons People Are Afraid to Say No

* Fear of conflict

* Wanting to be liked

* Afraid of not being asked again

* Feeling guilty

* Unsure about how to say it

Have you ever agreed to do something and then later felt angry, anxious, or overwhelmed about it wishing you had said no?

Saying yes when you want to say no is a huge energy drain and distracts you from the things you really want to do for your business.

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” Josh Billings Click to Tweet

The good news is that saying no is like any new skill, with practice is becomes much easier. And even better, it is extremely empowering. Start with something small and build from there.

Remember, you don’t have to give an answer on the spot. If someone asks you to do something and you’re not sure, you can always say something like “let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you.” That way you have time to consider what is best for your business.

Just because someone else wants your time doesn’t mean it’s always a fit for you. Before you agree to meet up with someone in person make sure that it’s even necessary.

Sometimes if you first ask for more information via email, that will tell you everything you need to know to make a decision about how to move forward.

And if you determine you would like to talk with the person, go for a phone call or video Skype first. You can always meet later if things progress.

Many times if you’re not sure, this may be an indication that the answer is no. Have you heard the expression: “Doubt means don’t”?

In addition, you may be surprised to find that most people respect your answer, even when it is a no. If they don’t, it may be a sign that it is not a balanced relationship.

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And this way you do that is by having a biggger ‘yes’ burning inside.” Stephen R. Covey

Setting boundaries in your business will create more space and energy for you to move forward and reach your goals faster and easier.

And that’s not all; when you set and enforce your boundaries you will have more confidence, be more attractive, and feel more relaxed.

Why not start saying no today? Once you know how you want to use your time, it will be easy to identify things you can say no to. This will create time for strategic action.

When you say yes only to the most important (and profitable) actions for your business you will see your business grow. 

© Stephanie Ward

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ‘7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at:

What kind of things do you say ‘no’ to? How do you say it? Share your experiences below in the comments section.

LIKE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING? Get more marketing tips (for free) sign up below.

First Name


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sian Phillips June 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

Brilliant post Stephanie – I think you wrote it especially for me. I have started saying no but not as much as I should – and for all the reasons you have stated. I will remember this next time I should be saying no. Thanks for sharing on

2 Stephanie Ward June 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

Many thanks for your feedback Sian. It’s not easy to say ‘No’ and the more you do it the easier it gets! Wishing you all the best.

3 Mary Jane June 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Stephanie well timed advice. You’ve hit the nail on the head – saying YES to the things that are critical for my business. Some words of advice that I sometimes forget for myself: saying NO to something is saying YES to something else.
Thanks for reminding me.

4 Stephanie Ward June 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Wonderful to hear Mary Jane! You’re so right, saying No to things creates space to say Yes to things that will serve you.

5 Russ Crawford June 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm


“Saying yes when you want to say no is a huge energy drain and distracts you from the things you really want to do…”

This applies to non-business relationships too

6 Stephanie Ward June 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

Very true Russ, thank you for your comments!

{ 9 trackbacks }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: