What Does “No” Actually Mean in Business Deals?

Jeff Cochran


No one likes to hear the word “no.” This little word can mean anything from, “I don’t accept your idea” to “I can’t or won’t give you what you want.” From the time we are toddlers, we learn to avoid being told “no.” Yet what does this word actually mean in business deals? “No” can mean much more than you think, and hearing it does not necessarily mean your negotiation has failed.

Yes to X, No to Y

Sometimes, “no” actually means, “I like this part of what you’re saying but not that one.” It’s the kind of “no” a professor might get when approaching a dean about a new course he or she wants to teach. The dean may like some elements of the course but be skeptical about the value of others so he or she might say “no.” The professor then has to figure out how to compromise so he or she gets to teach the course, or some parts of it, while the dean remains satisfied about what students are learning. Like that professor, if you get a partial “no,” be ready to compromise, or ask what could be changed so you get a “yes” next time.

I Can’t Take the Risk

In business deals, people sometimes say no because they’re afraid agreeing to your terms might hurt their business or employees. For instance, many employees get turned down when they ask for extra time off because it’s a busy season and the supervisor is wary of being shorthanded.

If you are negotiating for something with inherent risk, be aware of what the risks are. Approach the supervisor, client, or customer with an attitude that says, “I have analyzed the risks and can protect you in this way.” For example, when negotiating for time off, make the case that you need the time to gain respite to be your best when you come back to work. Assure your supervisor you will check in when needed, and offer help to the people who’ll cover for you.

This Doesn’t Fit

Sometimes, “no” really means, “your idea is good, but it doesn’t fit my goals.” Let’s say you’re trying to sell a line of fitness equipment to a local gym, and the owner turns down your high-powered treadmills and bikes even though they’re highly sought after. Maybe the owner turned you down because his or her gym focuses on classes instead of solo workouts, or low-impact exercise over high-impact.

To avoid this type of “no,” do your research. Find out as much as you can about what the person you’re negotiating with needs. How has he or she responded to requests or sales pitches like yours in the past, and why? If you do get a “no,” think about how you could revise your request or product and try again.

I Don’t Understand You

People are often told “no” in negotiations because they aren’t confident. They go into negotiations lacking knowledge, which means they use poor skills and don’t get the results they want. If you aren’t confident in negotiations, negotiation training and plenty of practice can help.

Hiring Online: The Pros and Cons

Jeff Cochran


More than 50% of companies use web-based employment application software, making it one of the most popular methods of online recruitment. There are several advantages to using online software to gather applications from potential employees. There are also disadvantages to consider before you decide if electronic employment application software is right for your company.


Web-based software applications offer advantages and disadvantages compared to paper applications. The software alerts the applicant if the application is not filled out correctly, reducing errors. It stores and sorts the data in one place that can be accessed from a central computer. Employers can presort lists to easily find the best applicants instead of having to manually thumb through each application. Most services offer templates that are easy to navigate. On the down side, with the use of a website comes the problems of that website. If the site is experiencing problems, applications will be affected.

Comprehensive Access to Applicants

Businesses can reach an almost limitless number of possible employees through online services. Online companies average almost twice as many applicants as those using paper applications. A disadvantage is that the applicant pool can produce hundreds of applicants, making it difficult to sort through so many applications to find the ones who are qualified. Another disadvantage is that if you use keywords to weed through the applications, you could miss a highly qualified applicant.

Ease of Use

Online employment application software makes it easy for people to apply for a job from anywhere in the world at any time. The disadvantage to this is that there is no way to know who is filling out the applications or taking proficiency tests.


Although there is a start-up cost for the application system, it’s more cost-effective for most than using recruiters, who can charge up to 20% of the employee’s first-year salary for their service. Businesses also save on the cost of paper applications, while job seekers save on printing resumes or mailing applications. However, needing additional online security to keep your company’s information, along with the information applicants share with you, safe and confidential, could be an added cost.

With so many options to consider, companies need to look at their specific circumstances to see which pros and cons would affect them the most. Many businesses opt for a hybrid system in which online applications as well as paper applications are accepted.

Becoming Organized to Become a Better Manager

Jeff Cochran


Managing employees requires the ability to handle many tasks and many personalities at a time. Managing your time, workload, and team members can be overwhelming if you’re disorganized or unprepared. You can’t manage others if you aren’t managing yourself. Becoming organized isn’t as difficult as it seems; sometimes you just need to know where to get started.

Organizing Your Space

Your office can’t run smoothly buried under a mountain of clutter. Here are some ways to create a clutter-free environment so you can work as efficiently as possible:

  • Free up storage space – Decluttering begins with cleaning out all your drawers and file cabinets of unnecessary papers. If you don’t need it, don’t keep it.
  • Clear the desk – Your desktop should be clear of anything that you’re not currently working on. This will help you better focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Keep essential items within reach – Having the tools that you use regularly, such as your computer, phone, or fax, within reach will eliminate the need to leave your desk, helping you work smarter not harder.
  • Put everything in its own place – Using a variety of desktop organizers or trays to sort different tasks or projects will put what needs to be taken care of front and center for you visually.
  • See it through – You’re not truly done with a project until you’ve filed it away. Taking care of the finishing details right away will not only keep the clutter at bay, it’ll also keep your mind free of clutter as well.
  • Clean up before you go – Straightening up at the end of the day will give you a head start in the morning.

Managing Your Time

Time is usually what most people have the most trouble managing, probably because it can’t really be managed. Time is measured in seconds, but real life happens at its own pace. People often say, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” because you don’t feel the seconds, you feel the progress.

Here are some real ways to manage your time without falling into the trap of trying to master the clock:

  • Plan ahead – By setting aside the first 30 minutes of your day to plan your schedule, you’ll be able to set your priorities and keep them at the forefront of your mind for the day.
  • Schedule appointments – Ditch the to-do list and opt for an appointment book instead. There will always be more to do, but if it’s an important task, assigning it a time block with a beginning and an end and sticking to it will help you get it done.
  • Plan for interruptions – Life is full of surprises, and sometimes those surprises can lead to great discoveries while avoiding them can lead to huge problems. As a manager, you’ll need to complete your workload and make yourself available to others as well. By setting aside some time to be interrupted, you’ll be able to take care of both without spreading yourself too thin.

Tips for Staying Energized and Productive at Work

Jeff Cochran


Your best work requires focus and energy, but it can be hard to stay focused for a full eight-hour workday. Most people have suffered from an afternoon energy crash at one point or another. It can happen in the middle of a highly productive day—you suddenly lose all your pep and vigor and you want to curl up and fall asleep. Knowing where this lull in your energy comes from and what to do to combat it will help you maintain your high quality of work.

What causes the slump?

Our bodies have a natural rhythm, and many people around the world experience an afternoon slump. In some cultures, it’s customary to take a break or siesta in the middle of the workday. You may be one of the many people who are predisposed to midday sleepiness, or there may be extenuating circumstances that are affecting your body’s internal clock.

Some things that could be making you lose energy are:

  • Nutrition – Food is fuel, and not feeding your body properly will cause it and your brain to function at a less-than-optimum capacity. Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch are good ways to be sure that your mind and body are fueled and ready to go. Man cannot live on caffeine alone. A healthy breakfast and lunch should include protein and be filling enough to get you through the day without giving you that heavy over-stuffed feeling.
  • Sleep – Most adults don’t get enough sleep. Around one-third of Americans sleep fewer than six hours a night. Not only are people lacking in the length of their sleep, they’re also lacking in the quality of their sleep. You recharge your proverbial battery during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, which happens for about 5 minutes every hour. So if you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, your battery isn’t getting fully charged.

How can you boost your energy?

Eating well and getting enough good-quality sleep are the best ways to keep functioning at peak performance. But some days, you just feel like you hit a wall and there’s nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, that’s not true. Here are some ways that you can combat that fatigued feeling and reenergize your day:

  • Sunshine and fresh air – Just going outside and sitting in the sun for 10 minutes will help give your body a boost of energy and vitamin D.
  • Stretching and exercise – A two-minute stretch or a quick walk can wake up your muscles, including that all-important brain.
  • Snacks – The choice of snack is just as important as the act of snacking. Choosing stimulating protein over energy-sapping carbs will give you a long-lasting boost.
  • Water – Staying hydrated is important to your health in general, but having a cool drink when you’re feeling sluggish can really perk you up.
  • Aromas – Just as there are calming scents, there are also scents that can invigorate you. Peppermint, rosemary, citrus, and eucalyptus are great scents for getting your engine going.