Saying Your Best Yes in Business

In 2015, I read the book The Best Yes by Lisa TerKeurst*. To say the book was mangled when I was done would be an understatement. Pages were bunny eared, line after line underlined and notes in every margin space. I was profoundly moved and ready to apply her best yes.

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Results were immediate. The more I used my best yes and my gentle no, the less frustrated I was and the more I was able to enjoy my family. I used her tips and tricks to organize my personal life in such a way that left it structured and running like a well oiled machine.

I quickly realized I could also apply my best yes to business and felt lighter just making the decision. For so long, I said yes to every project, every request because I thought I had to but what I didn’t realize is that the more I said yes to business, the less I said yes to my goals as a business. Louie Giglio said, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.”

Let’s repeat that, “Make sure your yes is worth the less.” Burning that knowledge into your head will lead you to greater success in business. I was so busy saying yes to every business opportunity that I was saying no to my family.

There are two simple applications that will have you saying your best yes in business so that you can also say your best yes to your family. The first one is that it’s ok to say no, saying no will actually grow your business. While you may be capable of consulting on a friend’s new non-profit group, does it align with the goals you have set forth for your business? You might know how to produce a single coffee cup for your Aunt Emily, but are coffee cups your product? If your answer is no, then the answer is no to the project.

Establish your core products and commit to cultivating that brand. Be confident in your brand. Your brand is your talent, whether you’re going to consult others on social media marketing or you are producing an item, you have a brand that needs to be cultivated and grown for success.  If you’re asked to do something outside that set realm, you say no. By saying yes to Aunt Emily’s coffee mug, you’re saying no to your brand and growing your business. Aunt Emily may think she is supporting you but what she’s really doing is detouring your business growth. The time spent outside your core is not worth the less you were able to give your brand. Confidently and gently thank them for the opportunity but explain that you have to pass.

Once you’ve learned to say no, it’s time for step two:  invest in yourself and place value on your time. Setting up your business for success with a best yes attitude is key. It’s important to evaluate your time. Start with weekly goals, what do you want to accomplish this week that will propel your business forward? I am a lover of paper and ink. This means I am a list making, journal writing, letter writing girl. Technology is an amazing tool but when I see things on paper, that’s when I get truly fired up. So grab your pad of paper and your pen and let’s get started.

Begin making a list of all your personal obligations. For me this includes household chores, helping with homework, softball practice, being a mom-taxi, etc. Now make a list of all your business obligations or goals for the week. This might include orders you’ve committed to, social media planning, marketing for the holidays, business meetings, etc. Last but equally important, I want you to make a list of your favorite things to do. My list includes reading and letter writing. I absolutely adore a good book and I never send less than a dozen letters a week!

Take those three lists and bring them to your calendar. You may prefer a paper planner, computer calendar, etc. Go with your favorite calendar and start scheduling out your time in blocks. Fill in all the obligations from your personal and business lists first. You’ll then see where your open blocks of time are. In those blocks I want you to schedule time for creative thinking or coffee with a friend and include items from your favorite things list. If you don’t give yourself that personal time, you’ll burn out fast. Ultimately the goal of scheduling ahead is to give your business structure and place value on all aspects of your business. If after you’ve planned your week, you receive an invitation that would mean you have to skip your planned block for social media marketing, is the invitation worth the less?

This scheduling is so important to evaluating your time, setting your goal expectations and developing a pattern of wisdom. There has to be a set time for meeting your business goals and investing in yourself. This block scheduling encourages you to manage the difference between reality and your expectations. As you move forward, you’ll see how your time has been spent and what area’s you need to adjust. For example, I found that I needed more time for my social media marketing. While I love graphics and can brand for clients, I hit a roadblock every time I begin planning my personal marketing.

Every decision, every yes will impact your business. By following my schedule and setting strict time goals, I have found a better balance. In fact, last week my 11 year old daughter made an off the cuff comment in the car that made me smile and appreciate how far I have come since 2015. She said, “Remember when you worked full time? I didn’t like that.” I smiled because I still work full time, I simply manage my time more efficiently so that when I have family time, it’s family time. No cell phones, no laptops, just family time!

I highly recommend reading The Best Yes by Lisa TerKeurst* to learn more about your personal best yes! Take notes, write in it, and share it with your friends. Absolutely life improving book!

*I am a participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This is an affiliate advertising program that provides a small income. I will occasionally post links to products on Amazon. If you click that link and make a purchase I earn a very small commission at NO additional cost to you. Thank you!
This article first appeared in Mama’s Black Book Vol. 1, Iss. 1 in December 2016.  I have made some edits to that article here.

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