23 August 2020

Saying "No" for Fun and Profit

One of the things I never expected to learn from being in business is just how profitable it can be, and how good it feels, to tell people, "no." 

I just told a client that. They were requesting something that I can do, but that is such a small part of my business that I'm actively entertaining the idea of axing the offering all together. On top of that, their service need is huge in terms of the physical area of the job site, a definite outlier in the market for that kind of service around my corner of the world here. 

It's a situation where I would end up spending so much time on this one client's request that I would have to charge an exorbitant amount of money just to compensate for not being available to service other clients (whose needs are in-line with my main offerings), so much so that this client would likely turn down the bid anyway. Additionally, it's a service that's not nearly as frequent as the other types that I provide, so the cash flow would be sporadic rather than steady. It's a lose-lose, even if the client doesn't see that and agree. 

So, I just said "no." 

Now, admittedly, part of why that feels good to do is that I know I'm in high demand and opportunities that better fit my business abound, so the feeling is in-tune with the reality of my situation. It would be a different story if my business were brand new, my book of business were smaller, etc. But, neither is true, that is the reality and the confidence that inspires. 

Old habits are hard to break though: I built up what I have now on "I can." With few exceptions, when someone approaches me with a service request, my gut reaction is to find a spot in my calendar for them. It's a higher mental exercise to step back and really analyse what it is that they want and if it is an optimum fit for what's already on my roster these days, what my business has grown and evolved into.

Opportunity is easy to chase, thinking of opportunity costs is much harder to do...

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