It’s OK to say No

It’s OK to say No

Entrepreneurship | Judette Coward-Puglisi

February 4, 2015

When you’re the owner of a small business and big global comes knocking at your door, there are two emotions you experience:

First, there’s the thrill associated with knowing that the idea that you conceived  in your bedroom is finally perceived to have the right mix of know-how and talent to attract a multinational.

Second, there is panic because when big global comes knocking you wonder about how you’ll handle the growth and the resources you’ll need to invest. The talent, the equipment, the location, the money, everything has to be considered.

But what an entrepreneur never thinks about is saying no.  Of course there can be a million reasons to do so, and fewer reasons to stand up and say yes.

Big global could be in an industry that turns your stomach.

Big global could have a culture of command and control that alienates your team and increases their exit rate.

Big global could have such little cash and so many huge demands your small enterprise could eventually end up giving away much of its work for free.

My advice to you before opening your door wide is to make sure you ask the right questions, the ones that not only include the numbers that’ll be in the contract but also the one related to culture, ethics, industry and expectations.

It’s easy to ignore them all.

Entrepreneurs inhabit a world of yes, where optimism and possibility often triumph reality and practicality. And while optimism is an entrepreneur’s bloodlines, sometimes saying no gives you the resources to say yes to other more meaningful opportunities.

For instance, the day I said no more to big global, who demanded 4 times the work they wanted to pay for, was also the day I signed a contract with another (after asking the right questions) where there was a fair exchange of work for pay.

Of course you’ve got to learn to say no with respect and conviction.

When saying no, don’t hesitate to lead big global to another firm who might say yes. Saying no invariably does not always happen at the beginning. So make sure when reviewing your contract the exit clauses represent a win for you,

It can be a painful lesson when what looks like an opportunity kicks you from behind. Saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no sometimes never makes sense.

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