How to say "No" and choose better opportunities:
In the beginning, when you first get started working for yourself, your primary sense of urgency is to support yourself.
So you chase the dollar, and if you’re ambitious and aggressive, you chase it hard and fast, and far and wide.
And if you’re like this, it doesn’t take too long for you to realize, what you thought would be a problem — “finding opportunities” — isn’t a problem at all.
Once you’re in the groove, and once you’ve got a little bit of momentum, you typically find that opportunity isn’t your stumbling block.
In fact, in time… opportunity, which was once the SOLUTION to your problem (how to generate cash-flow) — suddenly becomes your problem, itself.
In other words, you find there’s SO much opportunity out there, suddenly you realize, your problem has become “saying ‘YES’ to too many opportunities.”
And this causes another entirely different set of problems, like:
- Being overworked
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Not being able to execute cleanly and clearly because you’re overworked and overwhelmed
- Inability to keep track of the details you need to keep track of
- Not knowing your numbers
- And a general malaise caused by having your fingers in too many different and unrelated cookie jars.
It’s very easy to travel down this road and often, you’re not even aware what’s going on until you have some kind of train wreck, that takes you by surprise.
So I’ve developed a preliminary checklist of “Values” and “Criteria” I now use, to make better decisions regarding the projects I’m going to work on, and the opportunities I’m going to say “No” to.
And by the way – I’ll be the first to admit — I don’t have every one of these things in my current business. These are simply criteria I use, to decide what projects to take on and which ones to ignore – either in my business, or separate from it.
Maybe some of these make sense for you. This obviously isn’t my total list – it’s just a partial listing to give you some ideas that might help:
1. Must have relatively easy access to prospects via online and offline media
Sorry – I’m not interested in having to use a treasure map to find my buyers.
If they aren’t readily accessible, “Next.”
2. Large profit margins
This is a personal preference, to some extent — borne out of lack of familiarity of anything else.
To me, I’d rather be involved in larger transactions, but frankly, I’ve directly never sold into MASS consumer demand. (although I’ve worked with some clients who have, over the years)
My thought process is, with my selling ability, it’s just as easy to move $5,000 tickets as it is to move $5.00 tickets. But again, this is only my personal experience and criteria.
Your mileage obviously may vary.
3. Continuity income (monthly or periodic repeat billings)
I prefer businesses where there is ongoing consumption – it’s just much easier and there are just a TON of other benefits as I describe in Strategy #4 in my latest book.
4. The business must sell a product or service, must NOT be about selling the owner (me) as a personality, although I am willing to do this for a short-term to launch the business.
This allows you to run the business fairly seamlessly, and it also makes for a MUCH more sellable business.
Some people may feel exactly opposite to they – they may want to take center stage of their business theater. And that’s fine, too. These are simply decision-making governors, nothing more.
5. Must already be some tangible example of an existing marketplace.
I have NO interest in hoping to be like the Wright Brothers or Apple.
Because the odds of this are VERY low, and I’ve learned, it’s a lot EASIER to play the odds and do what’s MOST likely to succeed.
Which is a perfect segue way into the last one of these I’ll mention today, and that is…
If it’s too complicated, I’m just not interested.
All the things I’ve studied have shown me, for the most part, (examples like Einstein and Edison, excepted), the biggest successes have come from simple ideas and simple execution.
Not that the work wasn’t hard, but the process was clean and simple.
O.K., that’s it for now.
Please feel free to add your own “must have’s” or “must NOT have” to this list, in the Comments section below.
By no means, do my values have to be your values or your criteria. But you’d be well-advised to develop some kind of a checklist that let’s you say “No,” sooner… than later.
By the way I’ll have a special announcement this afternoon, so stay tuned.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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