One of the more recent business mantras is that you have to give to get. In other words, if you help others then it will eventually come back around and you will be helped. This is true for networking, charity work as well as when you deal with your current and prospective customers. They all want to feel like you care about them, however, if all you do is help others, when do you find time to help your own business and family? This is where forming pre-determined boundaries and goals can help. I would like to explore some ways to set these boundaries by asking yourself some simple questions before saying yes to a request.
Know When To Say Yes or No In Order To Reach Your Business Goals
Ask the Right Questions
You will want to be sure and record these questions somewhere that you will see them from time to time in the beginning– on your laptop case, on a mirror, in your car or anywhere that you will be able to glance at them several times a day. Then, before saying yes to any requests of your time, your expertise or even new business opportunities, you should first answer each of the following questions.
Does it align with my current business goals?
Entrepreneurs and business owners should have clearly defined goals of where they want their business to be in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years or a time frame that works best for you. The point is you need to set goals in order to get where you want your business to go.
Let’s say you are a speaker and you have just been asked to speak at a luncheon for real estate brokers. Speakers love to have a full speaking calendar because that is what they do; however, let’s look at your business goals. If your current goal for your speaking business is that you would like to increase your number of speaking engagements to 3 per week by the end of the year, then this might be a time to say yes, but let’s answer the other questions before you make your decision.
Is this my target audience?
Real estate brokers is a very specific group of people – do they fit within your target audience? If you are targeting business people in general then they probably would fit that target, but if you are targeting a more specific audience like entrepreneurs and small business owners then this audience would not fit.
How much time will it take?
With our speaking example, there is not just the time of the function where you will be speaking. You need to take into consideration every piece that will take your time.
- Prep time
- Time away from family
- Time away from business
What is the financial cost?
Be sure to list any expenses that you will need to pay out of pocket.
- Travel expenses
- Car mileage
- Any meals your host will not be providing
- Wardrobe purchases
- Time away from business (this can translate into a financial cost depending on your situation)
What are my current commitments?
Last but certainly not least, think about what have you already committed to doing around the same time as this opportunity. Consider the time requirements for each of those items and then look at how much time you will realistically have to put toward this new opportunity. Be sure you look at both your work commitments as well as personal ones.
- Other speaking engagements
- Business deadlines
- Children’s school or sports activities
- Your spouse’s activities that may require your help or attendance
- Pet care that may be required while your time is spent on this opportunity
- Friends and/or relatives birthdays or anniversaries that may require your attendance
- Upcoming Holidays
If time allows, I recommend that you write down your answers to each question so that you are able to look back over them and make a final determination as to whether or not to say yes. You can see that this process takes some time which will keep you from the biggest trap which is saying yes without thinking it through.
What are your favorite ways to keep from saying yes to everything? I would love to hear from you!