Learn to say no to customers.What???!!
Before leaving the blog, let me say that no, Small Business Entrepreneur blog is not written by a mad (scientist?) that has decided to say no to customers right now in the great depression. Everybody is looking to cut costs (well, if you have a good marketing team they will say that actually you don’t cut cost, just invest in what will bring most revenues, then they will show you the last year budget cut in half for next year and say it’s exactly the same like the last year’s one). So if you cut expenses here and there why wouldn’t you cut the customers that don’t bring enough revenue and only focus on the ones that have a good potential?
First, how do you get this type of customers? Quite easy I would say. Some are from the first day of running the business when you thought that everything that flies should be your customer. Some are simply bad sales deals. Some just turn bad somewhere in the process.
I always said the ideal situation is when you can say no to customers, but I didn’t have enough things to argument this idea until I found it argumented already in Mike MIchalowicz book: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
At page 100, Mike puts an interesting question: while in High School, who were the most interesting girls? Haha! The ones you couldn’t get!
“You must commit to saying no to all those crappy clients, bottom feeding prospects and unfit opportunities this year. Saying no is all about sustaining your absolute focus.” then goes ahead and gives some real examples on how saying no actually helped some companies improve their businesses like Buy Rite Inc that at some point decided to say no to all mighty Wal Mart.
Anyway, actually the entire book is quite interesting to read, especially now that money are scarce. Mike said in the interview I had the chance to have with him:
“Cristian: You told me that entrepreneurs that start business on the cheap, with little or no investment could have an advantage over the entrepreneurs. Can you explain?
Mike: Not just and advantage, but a HUGE advantage. The reason is that money is simply an amplifier of habits. It allows you to do what you want faster and stronger. But it also clouds problems, because it gives you the freedom to continue doing things that aren’t working. That is, until the money runs out. So, ironically, when we have less money we are smarter and use it more prudently. When we have less money we use our minds more to stretch every dollar the distance.
Listen, no money puts you in hunting mode. You are hungry from day one. And someone that is hungry will go out and will approach things in a different, unorthodox way to make money. The person that walks in with lots of cash, doesn’t have to hunt immediately and isn’t punished for being lazy or making mistakes. I bet on the person living their passion and without a penny to their name over the funded players every time.”
Coming back to the book, most business books I had the chance to read, either have a motivational role and put you in the right mindset to start and run a business but hardly say anything of value about the actual running of the business, or the other way around, are way to theoretical to push you to start a business.
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is a little bit different. It spends almost half of the pages in a mind setting mission, and the other half tell you stuff to do to. I don’t think that the book is for common thinking people as one of the concepts behind it is that you should think that your business will generate $5 million in the next 2 years, and if you think this is impossible, you just hit the wall of limiting beliefs as Mike says in the book.
$5 million looks good. It actually made me read the book. Really.