As the mother of a rambunctious toddler, I have had to tell Zola “no” on more than one occasion. Even the most perfect of children has to hear that word, usually for their own protection.
I’ve also had to tell a potential client “no.” And then I wonder if I was crazy for turning down an opportunity to gain new business. I’ve yet to become independently wealthy, so, like any growing business, Database Sherpa needs new clients to survive and thrive.
Yet I have come to realize that saying “no” is as important as saying “yes,” and here’s why. At Database Sherpa we believe that the key to clients understanding their database is to be actively involvement in its creation. By rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty (figuratively, of course, unless you count messy toner cartridges), clients will learn more about the nitty-gritty of their database. Why is this important? By digging into their data with us, clients will have a greater understanding of the components of a successful database, and will be able to modify and expand it with very little help or guidance. This is one of the guiding principles of Database Sherpa: Walking with a client, then letting them continue their journey on their own.
On two separate occasions, a potential client has asked for our help—but told us that they couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to work along side us when creating their database. Instead, they wanted me to do their work, reducing me from a Sherpa to a kuli (in Hindi or a porter) carrying their luggage.
Did I deviate from my principles? No. In the kindest and gentlest ways, I said I wouldn’t be able to help them at this time, but if they found that their needs have changed and that they want to delve deeper into their data, to give me a call.
Do I need new clients? Of course, but not to the point of sacrificing my values. I know that potential clients who are willing to walk with me are out there. I know that this business will grow organically, and I know that word-of-mouth from happy clients, rather than compromise will make that happen.
Will I continue to say “no”?