As a business owner your time is precious. You probably have multiple requests from people that are pulling you in many directions. But, if you say yes to every invitation that comes your way, you will not have time for the activities that are critical to growing your business.

What I frequently hear from my clients is that they don’t have enough time for everything that needs to be done in their businesses. Since we all have the same amount of time, it really comes down to making choices. So how do you know what to choose?

Start by making a list of the strategic activities that are essential to the growth of your business. These are the actions to say yes to. Say no to anything that doesn’t fall under your strategic activities. This is what it means to set business boundaries.

It may sound simple, but many people find that saying no is an extremely difficult thing to do.

What’s keeping you from saying no more often? Some of the reasons people struggle with saying no are:

* Fear of conflict

* Wanting to be liked

* Afraid of not being asked again

* Feeling guilty

* Unsure about how to say it

Have you ever agreed to do something and then later felt angry, anxious, or overwhelmed about it wishing you had said no? Saying yes when you want to say no is a huge energy drain and distracts you from the things you really want to do for your business.

The good news is that saying no is like any new skill, with practice is becomes much easier. And even better, it is extremely empowering. Start with something small and build from there.

Remember, you don’t have to give an answer on the spot. If someone asks you to do something and you’re not sure, you can always say something like “let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you.” That way you have time to consider what is best for your business.

Many times if you’re not sure, this may be an indication that the answer is no. Have you heard the expression: “Doubt means don’t”?

In addition, you may be surprised to find that most people respect your answer, even when it is a no. If they don’t, it may be a sign that it is not a balanced relationship.

Setting boundaries in your business will create more space and energy for you to move forward and reach your goals faster and easier. And that’s not all; when you set and enforce your boundaries you will have more confidence, be more attractive, and feel more relaxed.

Why not start saying no today? Once you know how you want to use your time, it will be easy to identify things you can say no to. This will create time for strategic action. When you say yes only to the most important (and profitable) actions for your business you will see your business grow.

© Stephanie Ward, 2008

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