The Power Of No

Almost everyone I know complains that there never seems to be enough time in the day. Time really is a zero-sum game and even if you go without sleep (really a BAD idea) you eventually run up against that 24-hour limit. The answer, then, isn’t to find a way to make more time but to do fewer things. That’s the power of no.

It’s hard in business not to chase every opportunity, particularly when you’re a small company that’s just learning about in which of those opportunities lies the best chance for sustained profitability. As a marketer, there is a never-ending stream of media that provide the ability to interact with your audience. Social media grows daily and the support needed to maintain a steady stream of conversation in them grows with the number of channels.

As individuals, we take on tasks with impossible deadlines. We lose sight of the cost/value equation with respect to the time required for some pieces of work vs. the benefit gained to the enterprise or even just personally. We might even dig ourselves a hole by accepting responsibility for a task that we don’t have the skills to do. All of those things are self-defeating and could be stopped with just one word.

When I began consulting I was overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted my help.  The problem, I soon found, was that they had neither the ability nor the intention to pay me for my time (there is that word again).  As I’ve said to many people over the years, the Stop & Shop doesn’t take stock certificates at the checkout.  I’ve learned to say no.

Sometimes “no” isn’t about stopping something altogether.  You don’t really need to post on Facebook every hour nor does everything you run through Twitter have to be unique to that platform – cross posting is OK, honest.  Even so, being more efficient can help but ultimately “no” is  every once in a while.  Agreed?

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