Business Law (19)
Customer Service (12)
Family Business (4)
Human Resources (27)
A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
The Importance of Being Assertive
Point blank: if you’re an entrepreneur, or plan on becoming one, you have to be assertive. Now, please know that I don’t mean aggressive, which is completely different. I mean knowing what you want and what your limitations are and being able to express that in a confident and respective manner.
When you start a business, many people will ask you for favors. Your friends and family may sometimes expect freebies of the product/service you provide. Business partners may request you to take on one of his/her tasks because their “to do list” is just too full. Some customers may expect you to practically hand-deliver the product they order to their door yourself.
Assertiveness is the ability to say “no” because you know what you are capable of. In this world you have to not only know your limits, but be able to convey them to others. Many of us have a hard time with that. I’m no exception. I’m the “aim to please” type. I never want to let anyone down, so I have a tendency to say yes to every request, even if it will undoubtedly stress me out. I’ve been working on it though. Here are some ways you can as well:
Be More Confident
One of the main reasons people have a hard time being assertive is that they have a low self-esteem. They have a hard time expressing their thoughts, feelings and needs for fear of rejection, or are afraid that people won’t like them any longer if they don’t help with whatever is requested of them. To become more assertive, and to take better care of yourself, you have to get past this mindset. Even if you don’t feel confident on the inside, express things like you do. You’ll see a difference.
Be Responsible for You
Realize that you are responsible for your own life and time, and no one else’s. If someone makes a request of you that is just not feasible for you, understand that it is okay. You can’t stretch yourself so much that you snap, and by taking on too many tasks and not applying your limitations, that is what you are doing.
First and foremost, once you’ve gotten the guts to say no to someone, you have to avoid doing so with a self-belittling comment attached to it. Saying things like “I know I’m a terrible friend, but I just can’t,” or “My life is a mess right now, there’s no way,” do not boost your self confidence and do not earn anyone’s respect.
Instead, simply state the “no” and the factual why – “I can’t this time, I have a deadline to meet.” And if you feel it is something you will never be able to do, such as give all of Uncle Frank’s friends free dry cleaning services, simply explain why, without all the negative add-ons.
Remember, in order to take your business to the next level you have to know what you want, and what your business needs, and not be afraid to share that with other confidently – that’s being assertive. Being able to say no and know your limitations is what it takes to start moving in the that direction, whether it’s for your business or just for you.
• No Is My Final Answer – Learn to Be Assertive, by Don Colbert, M.D. Enjoying Everyday Life Magazine, pg. 29-30. September 2006.
Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What Successful People Do – Part 1
What Successful People Do – Part 2
Finding a Good Accountant
The 411 on Schmoozing
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients