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Saying ‘Yes’ Has High Opportunity Cost

Image of Kevin Pollak

Kevin Pollak chats it up with the rich and famous.

Last night I stumbled across Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show while cruising Hulu for something to watch. The audience got some very interesting advice about half way through a two hour episode featuring Drew Carey. “The most important word in L.A. is ‘no,'” proclaimed Carey. He  further clarified this philosophy by saying he keeps the following statement taped to his desk:

“When you say ‘yes,’ you say ‘no’ to everything else you could do that day or that hour. When you say ‘no,’ you’re saying ‘yes’ to a number of infinite possibilities.”

Carey’s outlook is a powerful way for people who struggle with the word ‘no’ to re-frame their perceptions.

For entrepreneurs, the ability to say ‘no’ is far more valuable than they may realize. The most successful startups demonstrate both focus and discipline. Founders that split their attention by saying ‘yes’ to too many perceived opportunities dilute their ability to execute and set the company up for failure.  Moreover, leaders that think too many things look good have not developed a framework that enables them to objectively weigh the merit of opportunities that might truly make the business great.

An effective way to assess opportunities that deserve a resounding ‘yes’ is to establish the fundamentals (vision, mission, and values) early in the company’s lifecycle. These elements form the cornerstone to the business plan and are designed to be evergreen. The plan itself will evolve as a your team figures out how to adapt to changing conditions in a manner that aligns with the company’s purpose for being.

Please contact us if you find that you’ve said ‘yes’ to too many things. We excel at helping first time entrepreneurs develop the focus and discipline needed to build companies that stand the test of time.

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