When It’s Okay to Turn Down Business

turn down business

Many business owners can relate to having worked with a customer that seems like one big headache after another. Still, we’ve also been taught to not turn away business as the economic and competitive market can change on a dime (…and often does).

However, when it comes to succeeding in business today, success is about both income and quality of life. That’s why it’s important to consider profit as well as wellness when choosing who to work with and who not to work with. In this regard, here are five situations when it just might be okay to turn down business rather than to suffer through it.

Bad Chemistry
The adage that “you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all people all of the time” holds true in business as well as our personal lives. Can you think about a customer you have (or had) that simply wasn’t happy no matter what you did? When this happens, whatever profit margin you may have started out with is quickly eroded in how many times you find yourself in a lose/lose exchange with them. From a wellness standpoint, these exchanges can also result a lot of unnecessary indigestion <grin> and lost sleep.

Over-Extending Yourself
When looking to grow your business, it can be all too easy to bite off more than you can chew. The fact is that time and energy are limited – for all of us. Taking on too much, too often is guaranteed to leave you tired, less productive and routinely stressed out. Know when to say no.

Poor Fit
One of the most common strengths and weaknesses for most business owners is that we are skilled in multiple areas. Hence, when a customer comes along and asks for something slightly different than what our core area of business offers it can be tempting to say “sure!” However, if this new order is not part of what you routinely offer, taking on the work can actually dilute your efforts – and your profitability. Build and sustain before you grow through diversifying.

Poor ROI
One of the most important areas to master in business is knowing at any given time how profitable you are. This includes business already booked and when taking on new business. It’s a simple truth that to remain in business, you need to make more money than you spend. This requires pricing your offerings at a level that not only covers your costs, but also reflects the value of your expertise. If a client cannot afford it, or if a competitor out-bids you at a lower price, it may be wise to walk away and move on to better opportunities.

Incompatible Values
While business courses teach ethics, not all business people are ethical. Judgments aside, some people choose to be unethical, immoral and just plain mean. When a business opportunity comes along, and it just doesn’t feel right to you, trust your instincts. It is better to err on the side of caution than to end up in a situation that may lead to legal and/or regulatory challenges.

Your business, like your life, is all about choices. By knowing what you want – and what you don’t want – you’ll be better prepared to make the right choices that work for you along the way.


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