No-ing Your Way to Yes: The Key To Business Leadership


One of the critical distinctions in a business owner’s and thus the business’s growth, is the ability to say No.

Too often, when businesses launch, there’s a sense of scarcity and desperation that shows up in some variation of - “all customers are our customers,” or “we’ll modify our products and services for your needs,” or “sure we can deliver after hours” or some version of this theme. There’s a need to say Yes to every opportunity, because if you don’t, you’re saying No.

In starting 3 different businesses, I’ve seen my own version of scarcity, hope, excitement, with a touch of desperation in trying to be everything to everyone. And the result was never being clear about my personal brand, my target market, and getting really specific about my products and services.

Do you Lead from Reaction or Choice?

And what I’ve learned in this process was a shift inside of me every time I grew to the point of being able to say No. The moment I was reminded that I have choice, and in fact I had it the whole time, I started to enjoy running my business in a new way. Instead of being in reaction to what I thought everyone wanted, I started to create and express my own passion and vision, and see who responded to this. Getting really clear about what my company values are, my brand, what types of customers and clients are truly a brand-fit changed my business landscape. Not only did it give my business more shape, this also translated to higher revenues and profits.

I see this in business owners all the time. Often there’s a fear of simplifying your products and services, specializing or focusing on 1 or 2 things that you do really well, and then marketing to the specific audience who appreciate what you do and how you do it.  

Business Maturity = The Ability to Say No

Now I’m clear that a business’s maturity can be found in it’s ability to say No. If you don’t feel like you have the freedom or room in yourself to stand for what you really want, then you will end up becoming resentful of your customers, employees, and your ideals will fall flat. Other common symptoms include exhaustion, burnout, apathy, and stress.  Not being able to say No means that you are not really coming from choice in your business, and thus are coming from reaction. Your leadership is commensurate with your capacity to say NO.

Saying No is actually saying Yes to something more important.

If you’re business is needing the clarity and direction of your leadership now more than ever to grow to the next level, check out these 2 live events dedicated on helping you clarify your vision, your brand, your products and services, and who your customers are and who they aren’t.

October 4 in Southern Oregon:


October 11&12 in NYC: