The Gist Of This Episode: Saying no is one of the hardest things entrepreneurs need to learn. However, sometimes saying “NO” is NOT the answer. Learn my alternative to saying no but while still safeguarding your time and brand.
What you will learn:
How to evaluate if the opportunity is worth your time
How to be more efficient so when opportunities come along, you are more organized and ready
Hello guys. Rachel Brenke here. I am your host for today’s episode of the Business Bites podcast. I am super excited to talk about a topic that I feel like a lot of people don’t really address. It is the topic of saying, “Yes” to most opportunities that come your way versus learning to say “No.”
I know many times you’ll hear me in the other podcast talk about balancing a family, life, business, and everything and choosing wisely, choosing your rocks. The thing that I have found that when you’re growing your business that you can’t always say “No” to opportunities. You need to be able to make room as much as possible for good opportunities that come down the pipeline.
I wanted to walk you guys through a little bit how I was able to take on as many opportunities for partnerships, or appearances as possible during my busy seasons now and also when it was super busy in the startup growth periods of all of my businesses.
I think the thing is I feel like so many of us that are balancing everything feel like we have to put a limit on only X amount of networking events, or X amount of speaking engagements, or any type of writing of articles, sharing of other people’s content, you need to put a limit on that.
I will agree with that. I do agree that there’s a point you can only do so much, but sometimes it’s not in your best interest when other people are offering to share you with their audience, with their customer base. You don’t want to say, “No.”
The very first tip that I have for you guys, on this, is when you’re looking at your opportunities, before you even get to the point of saying, “Yes”, which I’m going to help you be as efficient as possible when we get there. You first need to make sure that the business person that is approaching you to be in your network, to go hard for you, to promote you to their audience and their client base, you need to ensure that they are actually even going to be worth your time.
I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner. I mean that in a sense that 1, you’re able to give back to them and they’re able to give to you. If you don’t have the time to give them, it’s not a good time for you to say, “Yes” to the opportunity.
If they are wanting you to give, and give, and give such as content creation to go on their blog, or appear on their podcast, but they’re not able to reciprocate anything in response, it’s probably not a good opportunity.
Reciprocation doesn’t necessarily require that they have to guest post for you, or create any content for you. It could be as simple as sharing your article that you’ve written for them X amount of times in a certain amount of time frame, especially if you’ve aligned that with a special promotion, or a launch of a product or service.
You just want to make sure that you’re going to be able to have a 2-way street going on while you’re scratching their back that they’re scratching yours. 1 thing that’s really easy when you first start out, and even now, years into business, I have to remind myself that just because they are a really large name in your industry, which is another point that I need to make, you need to make sure it’s even going to serve who your target audience is going to be, who your target client, or customer would be.
Make sure that if you’re spending your time creating content, or spending time on a business relationship that it’s even going to get in front of people that are actually ultimately going to convert to you. On top of that, you also want to make sure that they have a good reputation. Just because they may have a big name doesn’t necessarily mean it’s somebody that you want to be attached to.
Just because they’re a big name in the industry and they’re well-recognized doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get traction, doesn’t mean that you’re going to get their audience. They may share your blog post and nothing may come from it.
I know that I had an opportunity recently, within the last year, that they offered me I could write a guest blog post, an article for their site. I was completely excited. This was a really large name. I have gotten no return out of it. They didn’t share it adequately like they had promised.
It was just lost amongst all the other content on their site. I actually got a better return by taking a smaller fish in the pond, as opposed to this large fish and really cultivating the smaller relationship.
That’s the whole thought process that I’d go through when I’m going to determine whether or not I’m even going to work with another individual. You notice I really didn’t even discuss payment. I didn’t discuss free products, or any of that.
I think those are extras that come after you make that first decision whether or not to do a business partnership, a relationship, affiliate-ship, whatever it is that you’re going to be doing. You need to first look at the reputation, if they’re going to scratch your back, and if you’re going to get a good return out if, and if you have time to give to them as well.
We get to that point and you decide, “I need to take these opportunities. I go through that whole entire process that you just walked me through, Rachel. That safeguards me. It gets me to a point that I’m ready to commit.”
“What do I do then because I’m so completely, utterly overwhelmed?” All right. There’s 3 main things that I think that you guys can look at doing, or work towards having in the future.
The number 1 is being as efficient as possible. I am all about email templates, newsletter templates, canned responses, everything. I always try to make it personalized as much as possible. 1 of the things that I really like to do, especially when I get a lot of requests for business partnerships, is to have first of all a submission form for them to be able to go through. Sometimes people just blindly email me, which is totally cool. We like to keep a data base of all people that inquire.
I just whip up a gravity form, which is a plugin for WordPress. They go into that. They submit the form. I get an email when it’s done. I’m able to evaluate. It asks all the questions I already need to know. A lot of it is built upon what I just walked you guys through in the first step that got me through the thought process of even is this an opportunity that I’m willing to go through?
This is how I really get there, is through the application process. Once they do that and I’m ready to pull the trigger on it, I already have a folder of images, text, videos, articles, an invitation to my affiliate program, or partnership is all already put into 1 location.
What is so phenomenal is that I can respond to these partnership emails from my phone by having Dropbox. I have all of this ready to go. It’s really a media kit in a sense, except I’m obviously not pitching to somebody necessarily. They’ve already pretty much pitched to me, or we’ve already gotten to the point that they know about me.
I’m just giving them enough information that has a list of texts. It has my biography. It has all of my contact information, all the different social media handles, and links, as well as where I want to send them on the blog, any lead magnets they may have, then my folder of images.
I’ve got my logo, my headshot, any other applicable marketing materials that are going to further my brand. I may throw in a few videos as well. 1 thing that’s really important and this is you can’t really keep this in the standard Dropbox folder, but I keep another separate folder of pre-written articles ready to go. You don’t want it in that same folder.
If everyone pulls the same article, it’s going to be everywhere. It’s going ruin SEO. Some people are going to be unhappy. You don’t want duplicate content across the web, or magazines, or marketing materials, wherever it is, especially if you’re working within the same industry. People are bound to see the same thing over and over.
I always have a separate folder full of articles. I can directly link that in the exact article that I feel that I’ve pre-written that is a best fit for that audience. Sometimes I have to go in and tweak it in order to make it custom to that site. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I’ve done most of the legwork by having the head shots, the logos, the text, the videos, and the invitation to my affiliate program, or to my current partnership opportunities at that time all in a Dropbox, sent off to them so that they can start processing and getting all of that set up. Then I’ll follow up with the article. 1 of my favorite things to do, I absolutely love it.
The next thing that I recommend that you guys look at doing; it’s really hard if you’re very busy, very high volume. We’re very high volume on all our brands with our customer service emails, and the content output. We had to be very methodical. While people may fire off emails to me requesting business partnerships, we try to work in a more methodical fashion where we do a quarterly evaluation of partnerships.
If 1 comes in the inbox that I really, really, really think is going to be a good return, I’m not necessarily going to wait til the next quarterly review process to decide to do outreach, or response. I, for the most part, the majority of people that come to me, I tell them that we’ve put it into the queue and that we’ll be evaluating it on X date. We try to do that every 3 months. We do a lot of stuff quarterly on the back end. That is 1 of the major things, ensuring that we can go through all the partnerships.
The good thing for that too, is that I’m able to adjust my calendar of my promotions of whatever I’m going to be offering at the time. If I have all these random people coming in, it’s really hard to keep track of. Also, it’s hard for me to identify how I can promote them in my schedule. Again, if they’re going to scratch my back, I need to scratch theirs and so forth.
Be methodical. Look at doing a quarterly evaluation of partnerships, or affiliate-ships, whatever it is that you’re trying to do in order to further market your business.
The last tip is something I’d only recommend if you’ve reached the point that you have a team. If you can have a team member to manage this for you. It’s always good to have someone that can do all of the receiving of requests, doing the outreach for you.
Also, they can help manage these individuals, provide them not just that first Dropbox that we talked about, or that folder of images, text, videos, and articles. Maybe this team member can be tasked to send updated information, updated logos, and images, as well as the calendar of upcoming promotions so that these people can continue marketing for you. You don’t want just this opportunity of maybe your article, or feature going on their blog and then nothing else.
You want to continue outreach with them, continue the relationship. The hardest part is getting the opportunity. It’s easy to maintain it. If you keep scratching their back and they keep scratching yours and you both are growing, that’s a fantastic way to keep growing your business. It’s a relatively low cost way as well.
You don’t necessarily have to have a team member manage it. That is a third option if you’re absolutely overwhelmed. It will keep you from having to say, “No” especially if you’re receiving a return out of the opportunities. You could even get someone just for a couple hours a week, or maybe every quarter just for a couple hours to do all the outreach and management for you to get all of that set up.
I hope this Business Bites episode for today really helped you guys to understand you don’t have to say, “No” to opportunities simply because you’re overwhelmed. Marketing with businesses and other individuals in your industry is a really awesome way to further your marketing, doing it on a low cost and a more effective way.
I hope you guys have enjoyed today’s episode. If you enjoyed it, please head over to iTunes and leave us a review. Of course, we would love if you would recommend this to your friends so that they can learn on the go in a quick little bite to further their business to success.
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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