Please Say No: 3 Ways to Grow Your Business Using a Two-Letter Word

turning down business

Turning down business is hard. Damn hard.

How good are you at saying no? Frankly, I sucked at it for years. And to be even more frank, I still suck at it some days. It’s damn hard to walk away from someone standing at our doorstep, ready to hand you cash.

OPEN Forum is really great to me, letting me broach subjects that I address all the time for my clients — struggles they have, questions that plague their respective businesses. That’s why in my latest column for American Express OPEN Forum, I talk about a two-letter word (amazingly enough, not a four-letter one) that can grow your business.

That is, if you learn how to harness its power.

And I guess that if I’m going to be all “Erika” this morning, I might as well say that the four-letter version of the two-letter one I talk about in the article is simply, “Fuck that.”

Have a click and read my take on how saying no will grow your business faster (and smarter) than saying yes. You might win a pony. You might not. But you also might stop saying yes so much, which is like a pony but doesn’t shit in your yard.


Forget being the "yes" man; become a "the 'no' man to success".


I totally agree. But sometimes it stings! Recently I was in a meeting with a potential distributor and ultimately turned them away because they wanted too much from us. A few weeks later I saw that they struck a deal with my main competitor that they hadn't even heard of until I mentioned them in our meeting. Sort of sucked to see that, but I'm still happy with the decision made. Had we taken that business we would have expanded our territory but not at the cost of a lower profit margin and having to work twice as hard to supply them with product. The deal didn't make sense for us so we walked away! Still happy we did.