Survive Entrepreneurship · · 2 min read

27 Ways to Effectively Say "No"

27 Ways to Effectively Say "No"
Photo by Morgan Bryan / Unsplash

Entreprenuers enhance their execution, focus and credibility by saying a simple word…”no.” We know this word is simple to say but complex, challenging, and intimidating to use. You may find that you are saying the word “no” in your mind to yourself, but you just can’t get the word to come out of your mouth at the same time. 

The more your company grows, the more times a day you must include this word in your decisions. It will need to become a routine in your vocabulary. There is a foundational reason various leaders (backed by science or not) make the case for saying "no" 25 times more than "yes." Making it clear that your answer is "no" while effectively saying it with empathy can be challenging.

If saying "no" makes you a better entrepreneur, wouldn't an entrepreneur build the word better and sell it? Consider adding some of the following phrases to your entrepreneurial vocabulary.

Ways to Effectively Say "No"

The non-definitive list of options for saying "no" like an entrepreneur. Anytime you see "I" know that you can switch it to "we" to represent your companies' response versus your personal feedback. Before any of these statements, please consider using phrases like, "unfortunately," "I appreciate your idea and thoughtful pitch," "but appreciate the opportunity to explore," "I am fully focused on my business right now," "let's keep in touch when/if that changes in the future" or similar so that the "no" statement is wrapped with empathy and thoughtful awareness.

Best and Most Direct Response

Not the Right Time

Not Aligned with Current Focus

Not a Good Solution