28 Ways to Say No

Posted by on Jul 01 2017

Would you babysit my pet tarantula next week? No.

Is it okay if I bring my twelve cousins to your birthday party? No.

Can we extend our contract for six months but not increase the price? No.

Sometimes saying No is easy!

Finding the right words to say No can trip us up. And without the right words, we sometimes say Yes when we don’t mean it, causing stress, frustration and bad feelings.

In one of my mastermind groups, we brainstormed a lot of ways to say No, depending on the given circumstances and what type of No we wanted to give.

Here are 28 ways to say No. While these are business-related, you can modify them for personal use as well:

When No means: No

  1. I can’t take on your project at this time
  2. I’m not accepting any new clients
  3. I’m not comfortable doing what you’re asking
  4. I’m not willing to do what you’re asking
  5. I’m not the right person for the job
  6. I have other commitments that prevent me from doing this
  7. We have a policy in our business that we don’t do that
  8. My schedule is so busy and I’m committed to work/life balance
  9. Right now my priority is X and everything else I’m declining
  10. I’m not able to take on that type of responsibility
  11. Our original agreement was for X; I’m not willing to change that agreement mid-stream
  12. I have an appointment that I can’t reschedule
  13. I want to spend more time doing (fill in the blank)
  14. I don’t enjoy that work
  15. My decision is final
  16. I won’t go

When No means: I can’t do X, but I can offer Y instead

  1. I’m not comfortable doing X, but I’m available to do Y within certain parameters
  2. I’m not really qualified to do this work, but I can recommend an excellent person who might be able to help you
  3. I’d rather work on Y
  4. I’d rather do it this way than the way you are suggesting
  5. I can’t do this myself, but I can ask my assistant to do it for you as long as it only takes 30 minutes like you promised
  6. That’s too little money for this type of work, how about Y?

When No means: I can’t do it now, but I can do it later

  1. I’m not accepting any new clients until September
  2. Can we schedule this for next week instead?
  3. I’m booked solid for August
  4. This Wednesday is really bad for me
  5. I don’t work on Fridays
  6. I need to leave work by 5:00

And, of course, there’s the always-useful, plain old fashioned No. As in, Just Say No. Without preamble, without excuses, without guilt.

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

What I Learned from the Airport Customer Experience

Posted by on Jun 30 2017

customer service is everythingI usually fly out of either Philadelphia or Newark airports. They’re both “okay” airports, better than some, worse than others.

But when I flew into Las Vegas airport, I was unaware that I’d have the airport customer-centric experience of my life. I’m not naive — I know that airports are all about moving people and luggage as efficiently as possible. But they’ve created a system that works both for the airport as a business AND for the customer.

First thing that happens, as you’re exiting the plane, they display for you which luggage carousel your luggage will arrive at. What a relief! Many airports make you search for this information instead of handing you the information at exactly the logical time you’ll be wanting it.

Next, the bathrooms. If you’ve been in airport bathrooms, you know that they’re not the cleanest or best maintained places on earth. Not true in Las Vegas. The bathroom was sparkling clean and in perfect repair. The faucets work, the soap dispenser works, the towel dispenser works. I’m in bathroom heaven.

Luggage is picked up in a central location for all terminals. The airport has an efficient system for moving lots of people to the luggage area without delay or long walks. (Well, “long walks” in any airport is relative, but you get my point.)

Finally, to my delight, there was an employee at the luggage carousel, lifting up each piece of luggage as it arrived and putting it handle-up so that people could easily grab their suitcase without struggle.

Each step along the way, I was delighted by these simple things. And it reminds me how my customers deserve the same treatment. From the way we answer emails or the phone, to how we invoice customers, every step, every contact matters.

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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My Favorite (Office) Things: Post-It Dispensers

Posted by on Jun 15 2017


I wanted to share with you some of the office supply items I use — especially those items I use daily (almost hourly) and make my work day easier.

Today’s favorite: Post-It Pop-Up Dispensers.

I’m always losing my small pads of post-it notes. They get lost under other papers, or get pushed behind the desk. Then when I finally clean up my desk, I find a half-dozen of these pads scattered about.

Solution: Dispenser.

These are regular Post-It notes, in a weighted dispenser you can keep on your desk. You purchase special pop-up post-it note paper to put in the dispenser, and whenever you need a Post-It note, there it is! It never falls off the desk and it never gets lost among the papers.

It’s an inexpensive solution to one of life’s little annoyances. You can purchase them at Amazon.com.

   

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The Fallacy of the Small Sample Size

Posted by on May 30 2017

When asking your customers for their opinion, do you ask enough people?

I recently asked my customers (all small busines owners) for feedback about what time of day, and day of week, they prefer to take virtual classes. When the first 10 or 20 responses came in, it was clear that everyone wanted classes on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. Wow! Who would have guessed?

I should re-schedule all my virtual classes to the evening time slot — right?

Wrong!

When I re-discovered my patience and waited to get the full response from 300 or 400 people, the results were completely, totally different.

When I waited for a larger sample size of survey results, new and important facts emerged: Wednesday was still popular, but of equal popularity was Tuesday and Thursday. More importantly, because I waited for a larger response group, I discovered the 7:00 PM timeslot slide down in popularity, to be replaced strongly by 12:00 – 2:00 afternoon timeframe.

Had I made business decisions based on the first 20 responses, I would have created a disaster.

When you have a business idea or decision to make, do you just ask five or ten people? Stop destroying your business by using small sample sizes in your surveys! The more people you ask, the better quality of results you’ll get.

Read more about the fallacy of small sample sizes, also known as “hasty generalizations.

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Just Three Tasks a Day

Posted by on May 23 2017

A colleague of mine in one of my mastermind groups shared a great tip with us a few months ago: instead of writing a huge to-do list every day (and never completing all the tasks), focus on just three tasks a day.

I’ve been trying this technique now for about 2 months, and I’m happy to report it is a winner!

Truthfully, I don’t know “how” it works; I just know that it does. Each day I choose three tasks that I will complete. If I finish them, I can always do a fourth task.

For some reason, having only three tasks a day feels so much more empowering that I’m able to do them easily, without stress and overwhelm. My to-do list is dwindling and I’m moving forward in my business at a faster pace.

Try it and see if it works for you, too!

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Increase Your Productivity: Institute Quiet Time

Posted by on May 08 2017

Are you getting everything done on your To Do list?

No?

Join the crowd.

More and more self-employed entrepreneurs are complaining that email, phone calls, social media, and their beeping-buzzing smart phones are constantly causing interruptions, increasing stress and reducing productivity.

These constant interruptions are costing you productivity — and ultimately income.

In my blog post Choose One Project, I talk about the myth of multitasking. Talking on the phone and answering emails at the same time decreases your overall productivity. So does popping into social media sites while you’re trying to focus on an important project or task. It causes twice the number of errors when you multitask or allow interruptions to your task.

By allowing all these interruptions, you are losing TWO hours a day of productive time. Ouch!

The Solution

Many large corporations like Intel, IBM, and Deloitte & Touche are instituting something called Quiet Time: a block of time in which you cannot send or read emails, and may not make or receive phone calls (unless they are related to the specific project you’re working on).

Small business owners can do this, too!

I started to do this last year:

  • Core Productivity times are 9AM – 2:30 PM. All private client calls, group mentoring calls, classes, and project work are done during these hours.
  • Every Friday was “class design and book writing day.” No client or prospect appointments, no emails from 9:00 – 2:30, no phone calls at all.
  • Emails are handled twice a day – at 8:00 and 2:30.
  • Each day, return phone calls are handled after 2:30 PM (which is great because of the time zone differences between East and West coast).
  • When I really, really needed to work on a project in a deeply focused way, I’d bring my laptop to the lake, park or library, taking my work to a quiet environment without possible distractions. (I particularly like the lake because there’s no Wi-Fi there! :))

The Results of My Quiet Time Test

In a 12-month period, I designed and launched three new classes (including a 9-week class which was a whopper to design), wrote one new ebook, designed two new websites, and overall had a much happier and more satisfied lifestyle and work environment. Awesome!

Lest you think that you will be less productive in getting through your emails and phone calls if you institute Quiet Time in your business, think again. Having fixed times each day for email and phone calls increases your productivity, actually reducing the amount of time you spend on emails and phone calls. (I found I could get through 30-40 emails in a solid, planned hour, which would have taken me two hours if I had answered them in a scattered fashion throughout the day.)

If you are frustrated because you’re not accomplishing your projects and tasks, you need to schedule Quiet Time into each day. You will be happier and feel more fulfilled by your work if you do.

How About You?

Do you regularly block out time to get projects done? What are you doing to increase your productivity without getting burned out? I’d love to hear your stories and ideas!

   

21 comments for now

Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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