Imagine you’re a business owner. Say you have a restaurant and you do a fair business, but you could always use more customers and revenue. One day a guy walks in and asks if you cater. You think a moment and say to yourself, “Well, food’s food. I guess I can cater” and, voila! You’ve got a new line of business — you’re a caterer.
Imagine another person comes in to the restaurant and says, “Charlie, you’re a capable person and I like you a lot. Can I pay you to wallpaper my bathroom?”
Now, wait a second. Catering is to restaurant, as wallpapering is to…what?
This is exactly the moment many small business owners get off track. Especially when money’s short. A client requests something that’s not particularly in your sweet spot, but you do it, thinking, “Gotta get me some money.” The end result: you spend less time on your business, it suffers and, voila! You have less money.
Saying no is hard. It’s particularly hard to say no to earning money when you really need the cash. But think about it this way: saying no frees up your time to earn money building your business and doing more of what you like.
How do you know if what you’re being offered is a new, lucrative business opportunity or just a waste of time? Glad you asked. Here are my Three Handy Things To Ask Yourself When Offered a Business Opportunity (catchy title, huh?):
What Do I Want For My Business? As a restaurateur, I want to offer good, well-prepared meals to people at fair prices. [Just as an aside, this is the quick and easy question anyone can ask themselves to come up with a mission statement -- you just saved yourself thousands in consulting fees.]
Will This Opportunity Help Build My Business or Not? Catering allows the restaurateur to continue to offer good, well-prepared meals to people at fair prices. It’s only the delivery system that changes. However, wallpapering doesn’t allow the fulfillment of his mission statement in any way, shape or form.
How Do I Feel About This Opportunity? If you feel conflicted or uneasy or downright icky about it, use the Force, Luke, and listen to your feelings. If you feel uneasy before it even starts, imagine how you’ll feel when six months go by and you’re not cooking any meals — just endlessly wallpapering bathrooms.
And, you’re saying to me, I don’t own my own business. This is not relevant to me. Oh, really?
Most of us face moments when we are offered something that we could do, but aren’t sure if we should do. I’m suggesting that my Three Handy Things To Ask Yourself can be used whenever you need to evaluate doing something new.
What do I want for my life? Will this help me grow, or not? How do I feel about this?
Whenever you need to sort out options, and feel… oh, overwhelmed or uncertain or just plain icky, take the time to remember what it is you set out to do — then, feel free to say yes or no.