Just No


In a current social movement of “yes”, I like to buck the system with a strong “no” whenever appropriate. Some false theories… Saying yes is positive. Yes includes you in everything. Yes makes you a good person. But don’t we all feel stretched thin and exhausted when we don’t turn anything down? Or how about when we say yes out of fear?

No is my strength. No is my sanity. No is my safe place. Sure, being positive and excited about everything is great, but how can you really feel excited about EVERYthing? You can’t. It’s too much. Most importantly, it’s fake. I think we can all agree that fakeness is the actual worst. It’s literally impossible to be able to do everything, so why are we trying? I wonder what the driving force behind being a super hero in life is. Just do what you are comfortable with and what makes you happy. And if that means saying no sometimes, so be it.

As a small business (@cacaosweetsandtreats, @blacksmithandco), I set up a lot of policies and rules. I’m no curmudgeon, but it’s important to set the tone of what you offer as a business and a working human (you are not a machine, so don’t try to be!). I (over)think every little thing we do in my businesses. I’m kind of obsessive. But it’s because I want to make sure I am offering the best of what I do. I want to make sure we can equally please our customers, protect our business from mistakes, and empower my employees to handle any situation. I don’t make quick agreements to questions on the fly. I stop and reflect: Does this fit my business model? Will this reflect me and my business positively? Do I have time? Is this a direction in which I wish to move? I this something I am excited about? If you have doubts to any of those, the answer is a no.

As a small business, it’s easy to get sucked into wanting to do something for money or to make people happy. But when it’s not what you really truly offer, does it make YOU happy? Nothing infuriates me more than when an indignant person comments about how a small business should be making everyone happy because “they need the money/business”. I’m quick to jump all over that one with an attitude! Trying to please every person is what puts small businesses under. You buy more supplies you don’t need. You spend extra time you didn’t account for. There are so many details that you haven’t yet experiences. Not to mention, that’s a very narrow way of thinking. It’s our job to gently remind them that we are in the business of doing what we do and they can take it or leave it. Maybe they are just in the wrong shop for what they are searching. It is equally as important to truly listen to feedback and think critically from a customer’s perspective. You want to be attainable from their perspective, but firm in your structure to keep it all straight.

A customer once commented that we are elitist, not because we lack options, but because we weren’t going to bend a specific policy for her particular desire. She publicly posted that our customer service was horrible. So I simply said, “was someone rude to you, because I do not take that lightly?”. She replied that everyone was very friendly, but that she couldn’t get “what she wanted”. My next answer was just as simple, “unfortunately, that is not something we offer. I am glad to hear that my staff treated you kindly, however”. It’s important to draw the line and not let everyone get it twisted. Just because you don’t do what they want doesn’t make your business suck or that you don’t want to make them happy. You can still be friendly and decline at the same time.

Our businesses are a true reflection of who we are so it’s key to keep the spark alive and find strength in your path. We know what makes us unique and amazing and also what we are not-so-amazing at. An organic growth of business is the only real way. So protect the strengths and weed out the weak by saying no – it’s really okay, I promise!!

Words + Photos: Candice Hunsinger of Cacao Sweets & Treats and Blacksmith & Co.