by Karen Wessels, founder of VA Connect and SnappSales
I remember like it was yesterday, starting out in business and taking on clients and suppliers that in your gut just didn’t feel right. We’ve all been guilty of this. We feel that when we are a start-up or new to the entrepreneurial world that we should take on any client to gain the much needed experience and exposure. And who is going to say no to that additional income, right?
There were times that my gut was screaming at me to walk away from a particular client or deal, or not to hire a prospective team member, yet I didn’t listen and had to pay the price. And paying the price could mean anything from losing big time financially on a deal to emotional disarray for weeks at a time.
As time goes by we learn. We grow, we mature, we become better business people. Nowadays I’ve got business posture. This is thanks to too many times hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall. You reach a point where you won’t do certain things in business, or stand for certain actions, because it doesn’t serve your greater purpose, and it doesn’t align with your North Star (that is, your vision for your business).
As a fellow entrepreneur I’m giving you permission to actively have business posture, to feel the right to say no to certain deals, transactions and situations. Note that saying no can be done in a positive light and can have a positive impact on your business relationships.
What should I be saying no to, in order to exercise my business posture?
As human beings we all respect boundaries, in fact, even from childhood we thrive when boundaries are set. The same goes for business. When you set boundaries within the team and with the clients, there is an automatic respect shown for these boundaries. It helps define the guidelines for the game and each player knows what is expected of them.
Don’t take on the wrong clients
Easier said than done, I know! However, with each on boarding you do you become better at reading clients. Soon you’ll reach a point where a red flag will be raised in your sales conversation or email engagement with a prospective client that will immediately tell you to rather walk away from the deal. Women entrepreneurs are blessed with gut instinct, in my experience more so than our male counterparts (prove me wrong gentlemen business owners! ☺). Start listening to that gut feel. If the client wants to start negotiating rates, or your service offering, or the way you do business in general, and it doesn’t feel right, know that this particular client doesn’t fit your company culture and could potentially end up doing more harm than good.
Team members who don’t want to play ball
A CV doesn’t say much about a candidate. Well, it says a lot in terms of where that person has worked and what they studied, however, it doesn’t reflect the true energy of the person, their attitude, their willingness to learn and their coach ability. The last point is a huge one for me. We empower every single team member that joins our team and if I can tell that you are not coachable it serves as a red flag for me. There is a saying that goes skills can be taught, however, attitude cannot be taught. If the prospective team member shows they are willing to play ball, then game on! You’ll soon learn to look out for certain nuances that will immediately tell you whether they match the culture of your business or not.
Saying no to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
I want you to know that you have the right to say no to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable in your business. You have the right to walk away from a deal, whatever the deal may be, if it doesn’t align with your business culture or your North Star. You are not that hard up to sacrifice what you are building to please anyone.
This is your blood, sweat and tears that you have poured into your “baby” (your business) and you have the absolute right to align yourself only with those that share your common goals.
You’ve got this!
Karen Wessels is the co-founder and COO of VA Connect, a South African virtual assistant platform that provides outsourced administrative support; and is also the co-founder of SnappSales, a company that generates quality sales leads for its clients. Prior to establishing both her companies, Karen spent over 10 years in different sales, marketing & admin support roles. This experience has equipped her with the invaluable skills required to run her two successful business ventures. Follow Karen on her Personal Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
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