In the workplace, saying “no” is commonly seen as a negative habit. People are encouraged to say “yes” to everything that crosses their plate, taking on extra work and jumping on any potential leads. However, in some instances, it’s wiser to turn down an opportunity.
During their careers, the members of Forbes Business Council have learned to distinguish which opportunities to accept and which ones to reject. Below, they share the questions you should ask yourself when you’re debating whether you should decline a potential business prospect.
1. Will This Opportunity Move Me Closer to My Goals?
To get a “yes” for what you want, you sometimes have to say “no.” One question to ask yourself when debating whether to accept or decline a business opportunity is, “Will this opportunity and the potential rewards move me closer to my goal or will it just distract me and take away precious time and resources?” If you answered “yes” to the second question, it’s your obligation to decline the invitation. – Aaron LeBauer, LeBauer Consulting, LLC
2. What Is The Core Value of My Company?
For some companies, customers come first, while shareholders or employees may be the top priority for others. There’s no right or wrong answer, but value creation and effective communication are essential for me to be able to figure out whether I fit in with the organization. I want to partner up with companies that solve real problems and work with people who understand the value I can bring. – Abigail Aboitiz, 247 Health Solution LLC
3. Does This Align With My Company Beliefs And Values?
It’s easy to determine if a company is the right fit. Just ask yourself whether this company runs itself in a way you agree with. Do they offer a product or service that is a good match for whatever business you’re running? Would you personally use this product or service? Does this add value to your existing customer base? If you answer “yes” to all those questions, you can be confident in the partnership. – Hoda Mahmoodzadegan, Molly’s Milk Truck
4. What Are My End Goals?
It always goes back to your end goals and the values that you would like to achieve. If that potential business opportunity doesn’t align with those, then why spend time, money and energy on it? Saying “no” to things that don’t align actually frees you up to say “yes” to the things that do and moves you towards your end goal quicker. – Brian Chew, OC Wills and Trust Attorneys
5. How Does This Advance Our Priorities?
We hold a town hall every month to reiterate our priorities. We share one question that we want and need everyone to ask themselves to make sure we’re all driving the long-term health and well-being of our company: “How will what I am doing advance our priorities?” If it won’t, then don’t do it. – Vishaal Hariprasad, Arceo.ai
6. Why Am I Considering This Opportunity?
Ask yourself, “Why am I considering accepting this opportunity?” If you don’t have a solid reason or it isn’t aligned with your goals, gracefully decline. By doing so, you’re not only doing yourself and your business a favor, you’re also making space for others who would benefit from that business opportunity. – Eden Gillott, Gillott Communications LLC
7. What Is The Cost Benefit Versus Long-Term Impact?
It comes down to cost-benefit analysis versus the impact on long-term credibility. With a regular inflow of leads, my company has to analyze whether small deals are worth the effort. In many cases, they are not and we have to turn them down, but at times, we consider the possible long-term positive impact on the portfolio of the company. If that opportunity carries a positive portfolio impact score, we take it on. – Ilya Lipovich, Cider
8. How Much Time Is Required To Execute The Idea?
The decision of whether to say “yes” or “no” comes down to the time required to execute the idea. If the idea requires a lot of time and resources and I know my current resources are at capacity, I would have to say “no” for the time being to avoid being spread too thin. – Dimitri Akhrin, CRMDialer & IRIS CRM
9. Can We Deliver What This Customer Needs Without Sacrificing Others?
It’s always tempting to say “yes” to revenue, especially when you are running below target. But saying “yes” to something that your company cannot deliver or can only deliver at a cost to other customers almost always ends up causing more harm than good. Customers and your team will be unhappy. Ask yourself, “Can we deliver what this customer needs without sacrificing other customers?” – Darren Gallop, Securicy
10. Can I Add Value?
Not every opportunity is a good fit. Ask yourself, “How can I add value, and does this align with my business goals?” If your answer isn’t crystal clear, then the obvious response is “no.” If you cannot deliver on an expectation, it can be more damaging to your brand. Also, consider that when you decline an opportunity that is not an ideal fit, you are open to receiving better opportunities. – Judi Hays, Judi Hays, Inc.
11. How Will This Impact My Long-Term Sanity?
Do a sanity check. If I took this opportunity now for the short-term financial, credibility and impact gain, how would it affect my long-term sanity? It may seem appealing right now, but what will it cost my clarity, energy, influence and time in the long run as it scales? If your sanity will suffer, a “Thank you, but no” is necessary. Without the ability to say “no,” there cannot be a committed “yes.” – Kyle Hermans, Be Courageous
12. Does This Prospect Fit My Ideal Client Profile?
Every business should have an ideal client profile. This is a detailed picture of the clients that are the best fit for the company in areas like company size, market location and vertical market. If the prospect does not fit most of the characteristics of this profile, strongly consider saying “no.” These customers typically require much more work for less return and loyalty. – Darrell Amy, Revenue Growth Engine
13. How Can Both Parties Mutually Benefit?
The first thing I consider is, “How can both parties mutually benefit from this working relationship?” In most cases, the obvious answer comes right up. However, in some cases, you must dive deeper into what a working relationship might mean with a certain entity. I’ve found this helps bury the hatchet in some cases and opens new opportunities in others. – Chris Cashin, Parcel Consulting, LLC
14. How Will This Decision Impact Me In 10 Years?
I always have long-term goals for where I want to be in 10 years. Before making a decision, I always think about how this decision can affect me in the long term and if there is any value in it other than financial benefits. Can it help me gain brand value? Can it increase my network base? Can it help me gain experience in a new field, thus increasing and diversifying my expertise? This method is effective. – Talal Rafi, Sesame Associates
15. Does This Opportunity Align With Our Purpose?
I ask myself, “Does this opportunity align with our purpose?” Think of your purpose as your mission or your reason to exist. It is the principle that your team rallies around. If the opportunity is risky but aligns with your purpose, your team will feel good about the work even if things don’t go perfectly to plan. – Ryan Gray, SGW Designworks
Originally published on Forbes.