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Three Simple Words You Can Use Instead Of 'No'

We often say that entrepreneurs invariably are short on two things: time and money. As business coaches, we are resolute with our clients about not wasting either. 

But why is it that entrepreneurs are always short on time? We think there are two reasons. The first is internally driven. Entrepreneurs are typically creative and ambitious humans. They have no shortage of ideas, but often struggle with what needs to happen when. 

The second reason comes from external forces. Everybody always needs something from the boss. Employees, suppliers, contractors, salespeople and clients are constantly pulling the boss in different directions. Not only does this phenomenon impact time management, but it can also impact spending. Once you hang out your shingle, it is simply amazing how many people out there cross your threshold to present you with "opportunities." Maybe it's advertising that someone wants you to buy. Or it's a trade show that someone wants you to participate in. And sometimes it's a game-changing product that someone wants to sell you. 

But here's the conflict: Entrepreneurs are interested in growth, and people toss all kinds of ideas at entrepreneurs with the pre-tense of supporting that goal. But we know from psychology, that most people are afraid of conflict. We don't want people to be angry with us, or critical of us, so we avoid saying 'no'. 

Because people find it hard to say 'no', we'd like to offer an insight. If there is any chance at all of you ever being interested in the offer at hand, you don't actually need to say 'no'. You can simply offer up, 'Not right now.' 

'Not right now' serves several purposes. 'Not right now' deflects the immediacy of a situation. 'Not right now' buys you time. It allows you to listen to someone's request or pitch and then think about it when you have some space. It gives you the opportunity to run the idea by your team of advisors. 'Not right now' lets you focus on your current business priorities. It doesn't mean that you won't ever follow through on that initiative. It simply means that it's not what you're working on...right now.

How do you figure out what to focus on? Check out our post on how to accomplish more in your business. We're just not going to talk about that...right now.

Amy Ballon and Danielle Botterell frequently speak on the topic of entrepreneurship to the media, at seminars and conferences. Both women received MBAs from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. They founded Admiral Road Designs, which they sold in 2013 after more than 11 years. These days, the best friends continue to work together, advising other entrepreneurs via their business, Spark Consulting
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