The Gist Of This Episode: Taking on every business opportunity that comes your way can leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth – especially when it is with friends. Here are some tips on making sure you handle it properly!
What you will learn:
Why we are afraid to say “no”
Why you need to separate your personal self from your business self
Using the 3-1 rule to help make decisions
Saying “not now” instead of “no” may be the better option
This episode of the Business Bites is going to be another one of those episodes where I give you permission to do something. Not that you guys need it at all, and not that I’m necessarily anybody that should be giving permission, but I want to talk to you as a business owner to business owner, entrepreneur to entrepreneur. I have my cup of coffee here, and I’m just going to imagine as though you and I are hanging out, drinking our cup of coffee, and chit chatting because I see one of these major issues that can mentally impact entrepreneurs in their business. It impacts them on a personal level, and it ends up creeping into their business as well.
Before I get into that I do want to share. I can’t stand donuts. I am probably one of the only people on the face of the planet who does not care for donuts. I think it’s because I grew up eating them so much. Not that my parents force fed them to me. You just seem to have always have donuts and pastries when you went to functions and church and all sorts of different things, and I was always all about them. Then I guess I just kind of grew to resent the taste. I don’t know if that is even the right word for it, but now even looking at a picture of a donut, I can feel and taste, and it always makes my teeth hurt. I eat them when they’re offered even still. Even though that my stomach hurts at the thought, and my teeth ache, I still eat them when someone offers them to me. It’s not because I want them or want to eat them rather, but because I don’t want to offend people.
Really in the end, who do I end up hurting? I end up only hurting myself. My stomach ends up hurting. I end up taking in wasted calories, and I have that nasty crumbly taste left in my mouth at the end. The person who offered me the donuts probably doesn’t even care if I ate it anyways. They probably were just being nice to offer it to me, but I care because I’m so afraid that they’re going to be offended. I find that sometimes I do things in business that are very similar to this. I’ll make that business connection with somebody even if it doesn’t really benefit either of us. Maybe not to the extreme that being in that business network is going to make me sick to my stomach or make my teeth ache or anything like that, but it doesn’t really benefit either of us. I’m afraid to say no because I’m afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or offend them or cut off a potential business relationship in the future, or I might end up promising to promote a friend because I’m afraid they won’t want to be my friend in return.
This is really difficult for especially solo entrepreneurs, but I think anyone who’s starting their business because you want to attract people to you. You want people to buy into you. You want them to like you, and I think oftentimes we feel so impassioned and intertwined with our business, we forget to separate the two. We forget that people can be friend with us as a person without buying into or doing something with our business that could potentially be detrimental for us even if it benefits the other person. A lot of it is not only just this idea that we forget that we are separate from our business. No matter how much you are your brand … I mean you guys that are listening to me, you know by know that Business Bites is a part of the Rachel Brenke brand, so you get me. There’s also a personal me that I have to make sure that I separate out here as well and be able to think okay this person’s not necessarily not going to be my friend because I tell them no in business.
This is something I consciously have to tell myself a lot because the number one incentive or reason that we end up falling into these traps and eating these donuts or making commitments or saying yes to things that we wish we hadn’t is because of fear. Fear of failure, we’re afraid our business is going to fall apart if that person doesn’t buy into us. Totally irrational, but especially when you’re in the start up phase or you’re working with people who are very close to you on a personal basis or who are very well known in the industry that you’re in and that you feel like would be a good relationship. I mean they could help your business even if it wouldn’t necessarily be a good relationship or beneficial for you.
I just caution you guys to not let fear override your sensibilities because it’s going to leave a wake of a nasty taste in your mouth. You’re going to end up being in a business partnership or selling to someone because you are on a friendly basis with them or merely because you don’t want to offend them. I think that it’s really important that we separate ourselves as much as possible. Put fear aside and try to look at it from an objective standpoint. If you’ve listened to any of my other podcasts, I talk about what I refer as my three to one role. I totally need to just package this thing, but I’m just going to tell it to you guys here again. Because I apply it in the same way to this because it helps me to reduce that fear that I feel when I want to tell somebody no. It helps me to separate myself out from my business self, but it gives me a little bit of a backbone so I don’t succumb to either of those aspects and end up eating the donut.
With the three to one rule, I look. It’s supposed to be an objective standard really. I am looking at the situation such as a business network, and I need to see if I’m going to … or a new project or whatever it is. I write down a list of three positives, and then I try to see how many negatives. If I have three positives to every one negative, assuming that they’re all relatively going to have the same effect on me, I may make a decision to move forward with that business decision getting into a business network, taking on a new project. It’s not a hard set rule because I may have all these positive over here, but if I have really one big negative such as especially when you have friends in business or your friends are wanting to hire you for something. If that one big negative could be the fact that it could potentially destroy or impact the personal relationship that we had previously, that’s something that going to make me go I don’t think this is a good thing for us to do.
I know with myself being in the situation that I’m in with business consulting and legal, I have to evaluate this a lot of times, and because I just know that mixing friend and business is really difficult just because it could end up hurting a personal relationship. I always put that on the negative side that we’re friends just because it could have that potential detrimental impact. I share this with you guys because I want you to be able to utilize this role so that you can say no or not now to the donut. I think that’s really important distinction to make is that just because I want to offer something to you doesn’t mean you have to take it, but it also doesn’t mean you have to say no. You could say not now.
I prefer more of the not now standpoint when it comes to maybe non-friends but, and they’re in the industry, but I’m not necessarily sure how our brands would fit together. Maybe I just need a little bit more time to evaluate, I fall more into the not now camp. I can facilitate that relationship still with that business partner or that business network, but I’m not shutting it off to say no. I’m able to say not now so that we can wait to see if we get to the point that we are good as business partners or networks together.
Those that are friends that come to me, even if the three to one rule looks really good, but that one negative of them being friend and the possible detriment of our personal relationship, I’m probably going to fall more into the no camp. Again, this all is very specific on what is being asked or what is being offered to you. It could be that they’re offering me something that I really like. They could be offering me french fries or sweet potato fries. I am a fry girl all the way. I’ll take fries over donuts any time. If they’re offering me something like that, then that’s something to take into consideration with that three to one rule. If they’re offering me donuts, I don’t want to necessarily take it merely because I’m succumbing to the fear and that I’m afraid they’re not going to like me or to be my friend anymore.
Really I just wanted to encourage you guys. You have the permission to tell people no or not now. You don’t have to take and eat that donut merely because somebody offers it to you because in the long run you’re going to end up building yourself some resentment for it. You may be wasting their time, wasting your time, and really if they are a friend or a professional, they’re going to understand that. They’re truly going to thank you for not wasting their time. Oftentimes people will say yes, and they’ll eat the donut. They’ll have that resentment, and their teeth will be aching, but then they just kind of half heartedly follow through on the act. That can be way more detrimental for a business relationship or a personal relationship rather than if you just said no or not now to begin with.
Best of luck to you guys on instituting this into your business. I think it’s something that you need to sit back and reflect and look at your business plan, and identify if there is any way that these people when they offer you something or they propose something if they can fit into your plan. I always some back to the three to one rule just to make sure that everything is going to be fine and dandy. Look to see if they’re going to fall into the no or the not now camp.
I wish you guys best of luck, but if you do have any questions about business planning I want to refer you over to episode 13. It’s Business Planning in 15 Minutes or Less, and also episode 12 the Magic of the Client Avatar. I evaluate if I’m going to do a relationship with somebody base on also if we have the same audience. I talked extensively about that in episode 18, so you guys can check that out. Those are three other episodes that can help supplement this a little bit more. I just want to wish you guys best of luck, and don’t eat the donut if you absolutely don’t like the donut because the after taste is not any fun.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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