It is essential for small business owners to determine when a business opportunity is worth pursuing. It may be difficult to turn down clients, however being selective and choosing to partner with clients that will help you reach your future goals is a great way to build a reputable business.

Reasons to say 'no' to a client:

  • A client may not be the right 'fit' for your particular company
    • Partner with clients that will contribute to your positive reputation, rather than hinder it
    • You have a responsibility to your other clients, as well as consumers to decline work that you think is unethical
  • You do not have the available time or resources
    • It is important to say ‘no' when you cannot successfully complete a project without over-extending yourself
    • Be picky and spend the limited time you have working with clients that contribute to your overall main goal and drive growth in your business

Benefits of being selective in which clients you choose to work with may include:

  • Opportunity to develop expertise in a niche market
  • Increased client satisfaction
  • Protect your reputation and integrity
  • Enjoy your work more

There may be times when opportunities arise that are not the right fit for your business. Here are some tips you can use to politely say ‘no' to a client:

  • If a client approaches you with an opportunity that falls outside of your target brand, consider recommending another business that may be a better fit
    • Those businesses that you refer to will appreciate the referral and may also refer business to you in the future
  • When approached with an opportunity that you believe to be immoral or unethical, politely decline the offer without exerting judgement
  • If approached with an opportunity that you do not think you are capable of completing successfully and to the best of your ability, be honest with the client

As entrepreneurs, saying no may be going against your instincts, but you may find times that declining a project may be the right choice for you and your business.