Nobody likes being rejected, so naturally, it’s difficult to be the one rejecting a potential project or partnership. In the course of doing business, the need to say no is inevitable. Not every partnership will be a good match, and not every project is in your best interest.
Table of Contents
Business partnership mistakes to avoid
Among the mistakes to avoid when building a partnership, saying yes to the wrong partner is at the top of the list. Everyone has friends who have friends you “just have to meet,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed match made in heaven.
It’s tempting to say yes to be agreeable, but you’ll end up with bigger problems later on. Here’s how you can honor your needs by saying no and feel good about it at the same time:
Don’t allow guilt to guide your actions.
It’s normal to feel guilty when rejecting a project or potential partnership. If you feel guilty for saying no, it might be because you don’t want to come across as unhelpful or rude. Know that you can’t control how someone else reacts, and you’re not responsible for managing other people’s feelings.
Blogger Chantalle Blikman says she discovered her fear of saying no came from her own fear of rejection. She says, “I was afraid that every time I did this [say no], I would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings, or appear unkind or rude.” Blikman saw having people feel negative about her as the ultimate rejection. She realized that saying no doesn’t mean she’s rude, but rather, it means she’s true to herself.
When you’re paying for a service, you should get exactly what you want.
In fields of creative design, sometimes it’s necessary to spend several hours in a consultation. Many people feel pressure to hire someone simply because they feel bad for wasting their time.
It doesn’t make sense to hire someone you know will not produce the final result you’re looking for. Hiring the wrong person is a disservice to all involved. For instance, not all interior designers have the same eye for certain styles. Rejecting an interior designer after they’ve spent hours consulting with you feels like you’re shortchanging them, but you’re not. Like all creative types, interior designers are used to being rejected, and most know it’s not personal. Everyone has a different design style, and when it’s not a match, they move on.
Keep passion as your priority.
If you’ve got a reputation for being amazing in your field, it’s going to crush people when you turn them away. Hold onto your high standards because without that focus; you’ll never reach your goals.
Imagine if self-made billionaire Richard Branson agreed to partner with every hopeful entrepreneur who approached him with an idea. He’s launched multiple businesses in various sectors, but not one of them has been outside the scope of his passion. Branson pursues his passions, sometimes without any idea of achieving his goals, but he doesn’t waste time on things he can’t throw himself into fully.
Remember, there’s a match for everyone.
Just because you’re not a match for someone’s proposal doesn’t mean you’ve squashed their potential for success. Everyone you meet has different requirements, priorities, ideas, and ways of being. Everyone is trying to find the right match for their project. Some people fit together well, and some don’t.
Reassure friends your decision isn’t personal
When you say no to a friend, they might take your response personally and choose to walk out of your life. Let them go if they insist. If someone is willing to sacrifice a personal relationship over your decision to do what’s best for you, the relationship probably wasn’t going anywhere.
Be direct, not sensitive.
Take some care when rejecting proposals from friends, but don’t worry about casual acquaintances. If you’re not specific and direct, they might misinterpret your response to mean they still have a chance. People you meet to discuss business should know and expect that not every meeting will work out.
Be true to yourself from the start. If something doesn’t fit, don’t feign interest and lead the other person on. Some people are willing to compromise on their vision and partner with someone who almost gets them, but that doesn’t mean you should. Saying no as soon as possible allows the other person, and you, more time to find the right match.