The idea of saying ‘no‘ to an opportunity is difficult, but is it imperative. Strategy is about being different in some way to your competition, and if you say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, then you really don’t provide any unique value.
If your customer wants you to meet the proposal they are getting from someone else, you have to either decided: am I just the the same as my competition? I hope you say ‘no’ to this.
Another example of when to say no: When I was a project coordinator in Denver, our clients would try to get us pick up more scope of the project. This put us in a difficult situation. If we picked up the extra work, then we were no longer experts at what we wanted to be known for; we became handy men. If we didn’t, then we lost revenue and would have to bring another contractor into the project team. Long story short, I became our firms first project coordinator handling sub contractors, and we built some amazing projects.
So does having a strategy simply mean that you have to pass on opportunity? No, it means that you’re so focused on being known for what you want to be known for, that you simply cannot accept any dilutions to your root purpose of doing business.
While it might be hard at first, say ‘No’ will start you in the right direction!