5 Steps to Focus by Declining Business Distractions

Allan Caeg Branding

As an online business owner, it’s important to rank what to do first.

Ideas can come to you on a daily basis. Feature requests from users. Cool ideas from YouTube videos. Client recommendations by friends.

Sometimes good intentions get in the way of turning down requests. Unfortunately, saying “yes” for the wrong reasons will waste your time, resources and your focus. Little things can sway you away from the direction that you envision to achieve.

One of the things you have to learn as a business owner is to be comfortable saying “no.”

Here are the steps on how you can focus on declining requests and ideas that aren’t the right fit at the time:

Step 1: Know What’s Relevant

Is the customer request or idea aligned to what you offer? Many customers understand their own requirements but do not know that you simply can’t fulfill everything for them.

Take advantage of this lack of understanding to demonstrate what you really provide. This should also help them make smart purchasing decisions in future.

By clearly defining the problem you’re solving and who you’re solving it for, it will help you attract the right people and opportunities. Read more to see how to use this idea.

Step 2: Set Your Bounds

Define how flexible you are. After knowing your criteria and communicating them, set bounds.

If you’re flexible to a certain level, anything beyond that is a definite “no.”

Maintain your identity and set your flexibility level. Not all gigs are the perfect fit for you. As long as your brand and identity is still intact, you can work on the request without having to regret having accepted it.

Jenny is a UI and graphics designer. She does a little bit of programming. Because money is tight at the moment, she’s happy to do front-end web development. That’s her boundary. If the gig is back-end programming, that’s a sure “no” for her.

Step 3: Listen to the Opportunity

Give the opportunity a fair chance. Understand what it’s really about.

Even if the client approached you for a specific task, listen to the big picture of what they really need. Maybe, you can still provide your specialized service if you just framed it for the client in a way that works.

Give enough time to listen. If you said it’s worth two hours of assessment, don’t spend a minute more than that. If you still can’t find a fit after that time budget, move on.

Step 4: Rate the Opportunity

Give it a score. How relevant is the opportunity? Is it a “5” or more like a “10?”

By rating the opportunity, you save yourself the headache of having to think if you made a wrong decision or not. In the process of rating, consider all aspects. Begin by asking yourself if you have the skills and resources for that.

Given your flexibility level, set your mind to what score to accept or decline. Disregard good intentions. They will only pull you towards random directions.

Step 5: Decline with a Smile

Tell it like it is and decline with a smile. Let them know that it’s not something you can provide at the moment.

Keep a list of alternatives. If you’re a web developer, but people often ask you about iOS development, have a go-to recommendation.

Over to You

These are the steps for gracefully assessing and turning down opportunities.

The next time you stumble upon an idea or request that doesn’t match what you can provide, go over these steps. Saying “no” is not only good for your sanity but also for the good of your business.