Knowing When to Say YES

As I teach the process of creating Signature Programs, one of the areas we focus on is designing the program so your just-right clients can confidently say YES to participate.

Which got me to thinking…do you have a process you use to decide what opportunities to confidently say YES to in your business? In particular, do you have a way to decide what programs, products, events, and training/coaching opportunities are right for you? There’s a high cost to indecision and delay in business—especially in small business where there’s less room for error.

So, I thought it would be valuable to share my decision process with you. You can use it to create your own ‘investment filter’ to choose where to invest your time, money, and energy for the greatest impact.

1. Know your end game

Before I decide what to invest in, I sit back and get crystal clear on my end game vision and goals. I am a big picture thinker and need context to know if an opportunity makes sense in light of the bigger picture and direction of my life and business.

Here are a few questions to get you started.

Fast forward twelve to twenty four months. What are you achieving? How are you achieving it? How are you feeling about it? What have you learned that supported you in achieving this? What support do you have around you that keeps you on track?

These questions can help you anchor your end game vision and goals so that you have a focus and direction in your life and business. And your answers will be really useful in choosing what support and resources to invest in to get you there.

2. Set your short term priorities

Once I have the big picture clearly in mind, I get clear on my immediate term priorities. (If you skip this step, it’s easy to step over the foundational things that will come back to bite you in the end.)

Sometimes we have some groundwork to lay before we can fully achieve our end game. Other times we are ready for action. The key is—you have to know your true priorities in the here-and-now in order to make a great investment decision.

Here are some common priorities most business owners face at any one time:

  • Cash flow. If money is in short supply in your business and life, then so are your options.
  • Visibility. If you are the best kept secret in your industry or niche market, you’re going to struggle to serve enough people and make the cash flow you need to thrive.
  • Internal ‘bench strength’. If you or your team are stretched too thin, you can’t grow, expand or even successfully deliver on your commitments. If you lack the right mix of skills, experience, expertise and know-how to deliver on the end game, you’ll get stuck no matter what else you do.
  • Streamlined Systems. Solid systems are needed in all areas of the business and sometimes we experience breakdowns as we grow. You may need to focus on a systems tune up to truly position your business for next level growth
  • Clear Purpose. Every business must have a clear and focused purpose. Quite often I find small businesses struggle because they either have no clear purpose (focus) or they are trying to serve too many ‘purposes’ because they haven’t committed to a primary mission or clear purpose.

3. Create your highest payoff plan of action

Once I’m clear on my priorities I put together a game plan. I consider which strategies will get me to my goals with the highest payoff. Now, for me, ‘payoff’ is much more than a financial term. Payoff is about how my business, my clients and my life will benefit—financially, emotionally, energetically, impact and time-wise.

So, when choosing a strategy I consider three things: Speed, Cost, Quality. I ask myself:

  • What is it worth to me to achieve this goal or priority?
  • How fast do I want to get there?
  • What am I willing to invest (time, energy, resources and money) to achieve this?
  • What is the cost to me (time, energy, resources, money and more) to NOT achieve this?
  • How important is quality (in the process of getting there…as well as in the end result)

If you want to move fast, it may ‘cost’ you more in terms of money or time and energy but you’ll get to the goal faster and there is a benefit to speed. The same is true for quality. If you want a high quality experience and outcome, it requires more investment of time and sometimes money, but a high quality solution may payoff in spades. And, if you want to find the most affordable path to your goals, you will likely have to compromise on how fast you get there and/or on the quality of the outcome.

4. Get the right support in place

Finally, I look for support. I know I can’t do it all alone and I’m willing to invest in the right resources and support to get to my goals with more ease, clarity, confidence, and effectiveness.

If you are considering investing in a program, product, event, or solution you probably place a high value on support. So ask yourself…what is the support I need to truly live up to my full potential and achieve my end game goals?

Do I need ideas? Do I need know how? Do I need a sounding board? Do I need shortcuts and a proven process? Do I need a guiding hand? Do I need accountability? Do I need validation? Do I need a helping hand to get it all done? Do I need to be surrounded by like-minded people who will challenge and encourage me? These are all legitimate support needs that can help you have a higher quality outcome, in the fastest time possible.

When it comes down to it any ‘solution’ or opportunity you invest in has to be aligned with where you are headed, what your current priorities are, and provide you with the just right support to get there. Sometimes the fastest route to achieving something worthwhile is to invest in a program, event, training or coaching opportunity that can help get you there. The important thing is to say YES with confidence.

I’d love to hear from you…what factors do you consider when choosing what programs, coaching, training or events to invest in?

2 Responses to Knowing When to Say YES

  1. Shawn, you’re always so good at creating filters to help us see the forest from the trees. I know as a creative entrepreneur (who also feels like every blog post you write is secretly dedicated to me, but I have a feeling everyone else reading this feels the same way too!) the options can be overwhelming. We either say Yes to too much… or NO to everything. Your advice always helps me find that gray area, the intersection where I need to apply certain logical criteria so I don’t wake up feeling overcommitted… or missing out!

    thank you for another great piece of advice!

  2. Nancy,
    You are welcome! It is a constant challenge for creative, accomplished, visionaries to avoid becoming so busy, buried and blitzed by opportunities that there’s no space to do their brilliant work. Happy to learn that my process helped you! You have brilliant work to do!


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