Some of the most common questions I get about growing a residential cleaning business ends up really being about the business owner just not knowing when or how to say “No.” How is it possible to say no in your business and still grow your earnings?
New business owners work very hard to please their customers, but running and growing a small business is not all about pleasing the customer. You also have to balance this with earning a profit for your business. If you don’t pay attention to this, you will soon be out-of-business and not even realize how you got there.
The Problem with Over-Committing
You make a commitment. Then you make another. Before you know it, you’re making yet another commitment. It’s a never-ending cycle. You over-commit to your job, your friends, colleagues, causes, family, school, etc. These commitments add hundreds of hours and stress to an already over-scheduled life.
One of the most important things to remember is that time is finite. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never have enough time to do everything. However, once you truly accept that you can’t do it all, you can begin to prioritize your time. Doing this gives more opportunities to do the things that you really want to do, rather than the things that you feel you should do. Spending quality time with family and friends, achieving goals to improve your future, and just having time to yourself are prime examples.
Benefits of Saying No
Learning how to say “no” politely is the first real step to stop over-committing and better prioritizing your time. As you will soon see, there are many other benefits to saying no. In actuality, there are many more than are discussed here. These are some of the most important and represent a solid starting point on your journey to saying no.
- Reduce Stress
- Save Time
- Increase Focus
- Gain Strength
- More Energy
Why Saying No Gets You Ahead
Surprisingly, saying “no” can help many people achieve their goals. It frees up time, which allows them to concentrate on themselves. Without having to worry about everyone else, it’s much easier for you to plan for your future. If this sounds good to you, there’s no better time to work on the task of comfortably saying no.
Saying “no” helps you to stay true to yourself and stick to your goals. It also reduces distractions, which sometimes cause you to get behind on the most important things in your life. For many people, learning to say “no” with conviction lessens any feeling of guilt they once felt when turning down a request.
When you learn to say “no,” you set boundaries for yourself and the people around you. The ability to do this is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Setting clear boundaries means that you’ll typically be presented with less intrusions and distractions, because others will know when they’re stepping over the line.
Some people will still try to take advantage of your helpful nature. How many times have you had a client ask for more, but not want to pay the extra fee? How many times have you had an employee push the limits of their employment? By taking the time to set firm boundaries, you’ll eliminate some of the problems.
For instance, your customers need to know how you run your business so they know what to expect. That’s why a service agreement is so important – it lists all your policies and contains the estimate you quoted them for service. Now when they ask for extra work, they know there will be an extra charge because you have included it on their agreement.
One way to set firm boundaries with your employees is by having employee handbooks that state your policies for employment and instructions for doing the cleaning your way. By having this information in writing, there can be no misunderstandings and the workers knows what will happen if your policies are not followed.
You can’t always be “there” for everyone. It’s physically impossible. You’d need more than 24 hours in the day to do everything that people want you to do. Create boundaries to help you save time when trying to decide whether you should volunteer to help. These help you to set limits ahead of time and make the decision-making process easier.
Saying “No!” in Your Business
Learning how to say no in your business is crucial to your success. That’s because you can’t clean more houses when you have a full schedule; or your teams are in transition; or you’re physically incapable of taking on more work.
When you take on more jobs when you should be saying no sets you up for disaster. You may not be able to produce the quality work you have built your business on. Once negative word gets out about your cleaning, you will have a hard time getting back your credibility.
Instead, have a plan ready to say no. Network with another cleaning business that can take on the work you don’t want to do. Put your new prospects on a waiting list – this will identify the people who are willing to wait for the service you offer. Be honest and tell the person you don’t do the type of work they need.
Saying no will liberate you and prevent the burnout you can’t afford. That’s one reason I networked with other businesses – I could say “no” to the work I didn’t want to do or that I didn’t have time to schedule. This is so important to small business success, I created a 5-day mini course that you can register for and it’s free. Learn more here.
The Bottom Line
Remember, saying no does not make you a bad or selfish person. On the contrary, it generally makes you healthier and happier. More importantly, saying no doesn’t mean you can’t help those who you really want to help. After all, everyone needs help at one time or another. In the words of Tim Ferriss, “What you don’t do determines what you can do.” It’s totally up to you!
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