“Sorry, I don’t do that”.
Smart entrepreneurs say that a lot. Why?
Because knowing what you don’t do is smart business and it’s smart resource management. It’s often a good sign of a healthy business, of a good strategy, of a disciplined individual.
Because you cant be clear on what you do do, if you’re not clear on what you don’t. You cant be focused on what you will do, if you’re not sure what you wont.
It’s why you need a Unique Selling Point (USP). Because it tells people what you do (and therefore what you don’t).
Your ‘To Not Do’ List is almost as important as your ‘To Do’ list. It informs you on what is opportunity vs distraction. It reminds you of why you do do certain things…for example
Lets say you’re a marketing consultant and i ask you to help me with a business plan. If you say “Sorry Max, I don’t do that”, what’s my next question?
“Well, Why Not Bob?!”
Of course your answer needs to be better than “just because”. If you’ve actually thought it through, then it will reflect focus and even insinuate expertise.
People disciplined enough to not do certain things are often paid more, trusted more and referred more. I mean would you hire a consider a brain surgeon who is also a master pediatrician, gynecologist, psychologist and basketball star?
Or would you prefer the Brain surgeon who says “No, i don’t have anytime for that other stuff…, my passion is brain surgery – nothing else”.
Sure it may seem like his missing out on all those other ‘opportunities’ coming his way, but his not. He’s just focused…and therefore more credible and likely to deliver well.
So what don’t you do? Go on, make a list.
Oh, by the way, besides knowing what your business doesn’t do, it’s worth developing a personal productivity ‘To Not Do List’. Tim Ferriss offers a few ideas for you – Here are a few of my favorites (partly because I’ve been there).
- Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
- Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only
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