THE ART OF SAYING NO
Business owners can find it hard to say no. If you say no, you can be left with thoughts like “What if I miss out on an amazing opportunity?” or “Can’t I take on just one more project to hit my revenue goal this month?” However, saying no can be extremely empowering and good for your business. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing that you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I am actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
However, there are certain instances in which saying no is completely necessary to the success of your business.
Regardless of your niche, there is a saturation point at which you cannot take on more work. It happens when you are working long hours, when you rarely spend time with your family, and when your health and sleep habits are suffering. Suddenly, you don’t enjoy work anymore, and you are constantly stressed. When your work-life balance is slipping away, it’s time to say no. Your business serves a specific demographic. But what about when you get a new offer from a prospect who falls outside your normal arena? Ask yourself, does it conflict with my demographic? Do I have enough expertise to be able to do the job? Does it hurt the image I’m trying to create around my brand? If you can say yes to these questions, say no to the prospect.
It can be tempting to jump at every new opportunity or challenge presented to you, especially when you are dedicated to growing your business.
WHY YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NEED A CONTRACT
When it comes to creating or dealing with other small businesses, most people would prefer to avoid a huge pile of documents and legal red tape. When you’re starting out, it might seem easy to skip contracts altogether, sealing every agreement with nothing more than a handshake. In fact, we see this all the time — usually in expensive litigation, business owners trusting one another to hold up their end of the bargain based entirely upon a verbal understanding.
Without a written contract, what that understanding actually was is really anybody’s guess. Remember, if a dispute arises in the future, a third party who was not present when the deal was struck, usually a judge or jury, will decide what the deal really was. Plus, by the time a dispute arises no one will remember what was really agreed to in that first meeting. Reducing your agreement to writing solves a lot of these problems. Also, while verbal agreements are usually enforceable in Texas there are major exceptions. A contract for the sale of real estate must, for example, be in writing. So, too, must a real estate lease for more than one year be in writing. Ditto with a personal guaranty. By making a small investment to hire a lawyer and properly document your new venture, you can avoid tens of thousands of dollars of headaches in the future. The bottom line is that a written contract can prevent wasting time and money on a long, expensive, usually bitter — and always stressful — conflict down the road. As you’re working through the initial contract, you can even include provisions to save you money if you do wind up in a lawsuit, like mandatory pre-suit mediation, venue selection, waiver of a jury trial, or limitation of damages. We understand that when you establish a business relationship, it’s hard to imagine it might ever go sour. But the single best way to ensure a partnership stays friendly and mutually beneficial isn’t a handshake — it’s a written contract both parties can easily get on board with .
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