The Small Business Column

In this week’s column, Kehlan looks at rejection and why, as a business owner, it just comes with the territory

One the first lectures I attended at university was taught by a very good, passionate lecturer. The kind of speaker who was great to listen to because he was blunt and to the point.

“If you want to be rich and famous” he said “then don’t be a journalist.

However, if you have a brass neck and thrive on the word ‘no’ then you will be a good one”.

One of the most difficult things in business is selling yourself.

Getting people to trust and you and your product can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have the disposition for shameless public self-promotion.

But it’s something you need and something you need to find.

A number of years ago when I was just starting out in business I interviewed Ray Wilkins from who sells personalised sports memorabilia.

At the time he had got the rights to sell merchandise with the FAI and had meetings set up with the GAA.

I asked him how a very small retailer had managed to get himself into their offices.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get” was his reply. In business that is one of the best strategies you can have.

It also means you need to learn from and deal with rejection. As business owners we seem to take ‘no’ as a personal slight, like it was something they didn’t like about us.

However, it comes with the territory. Deal with it. Accept the reasons why they wouldn’t do business with you and make it better for the next time. Remember no doesn’t mean no forever, just no for now.

Whether you’re walking through the doors of a multinational or a mom and pop business, how you deal with being turned away will show how the future of your business will turn out.

How you deal with setbacks and problems is tracked back to this too. When things go wrong do you wallow in it or work out of it?

Learning from what you do and getting an explanation as why you weren’t successful this time around will allow you to improve for the next time.

That’s the key in dealing with business rejection. You have to believe that there is always the next time. There is help out there too.

Lots of motivational mentors are around and toastmasters offer people the ability to learn how to speak in public and thus boost confidence. That can mean the difference between yes and no.

Putting yourself in front of prospective clients can be daunting but it doesn’t have to break you either. Accepting a rejection for what it’s worth and moving on with the learning curve is the only way to help your business grow and make you more assertive and confident.

“If you try to do something and fail, you are vastly better off than if you had tried nothing and succeeded.”

The key to dealing with business rejection — you have to believe there is always the next time


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