When to Turn Away Business

By Roger Pierce

Sometimes the best decision you can make for your new small business is to reject a business opportunity that isn’t right for you or your company.

Listen to your gut if you are struggling with a decision to play or pass on some work, which may be screaming “Don’t do it!” for several reasons:

The work is not what you do.

  • The work would strain your thin resources to a point where other work is affected.
  • The money offered is too low.
  • You don’t like the customer, or you get a bad vibe about them.

Any of these reasons are perfectly valid ones to reject a deal.

Disliking a customer is a particularly difficult instinct to deal with. We’re so often trained in business school to “do business” with anyone, and leave emotions or opinions about someone at the door. In other words, take their money and carry on.

But that’s not realistic for a small business owner who must work face to face with the disagreeable customer. It also betrays the entrepreneur’s right to make decisions affecting his life. Many of us got into business so we could work with people we actually like.

It’s okay to listen to your head and your heart when assessing new work opportunities. Make a decision that feels just as good tomorrow as it does today.



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