6 Things Successful Business Owners Never Say

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The words you say can be very powerful in terms of how people respond to you or your message, and also very telling of your character and attitude. You will speak what you believe and how you think. People who are success-minded use different language and phrases than people who are not achieving their goals. Here are 6 phrases you will not likely hear from successful business owners. Do YOU use any of them?

I was reading an article on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago titled, "11 Things Smart People Won't Say" and realized that most of these were things could be adapted to the dialog of successful business owners. Here's my synopsis:


1. "It's not fair."  My stepfather used to annoy me when I objected to something not being fair and his reply was, "Who said life was supposed to be fair?" Now I realize it's a naive idea. Things don't always "even out." And what's fair in one person's eyes might not be fair in another's, so it's really relative anyway. Being indignant, stomping your feet, crossing your hands across your chest in resistance to "what is," just makes you look immature and prevents you from finding alternatives or solutions to change the situation you're in.


2. "This is how everyone (in my industry) does it"/"This is how it's always been done." Innovation and shaking things up beyond the status quo are the signs of progress and success. Don't be a copy cat. Be unique and willing to do things differently. These phrases, along with their cousin, "If it ain't broke don't fix it," are the language of someone in their comfort zone. And you won't find riches in the comfort zone.


3. "I'll try." This is one of the most annoying phrases to me. Yoda said to young Skywalker, "Do or do not. There is no try." Try is a non-commital word. It lacks a sense of commitment, drive, certainty, and effort. It's like a wimpy handshake. Commit to do whatever it takes to accomplish the outcome you want to see. Also make sure not to use this phrase with your customers–they'll be annoyed at best and lose confidence in you at worst. Instead use a phrase like "I'll do my best" or "I'll do whatever it takes."


4. "He/She/They are (insert disparaging remark/put-down here)." Talking trash about your competitors or anyone else is a big turn-off to building the know/like/trust factor that makes people want to do business with you. Not only does it make you look petty or like you're trying to make yourself look better by making them look bad, it makes people think they can't trust you becaue they'll wonder what you might be saying about THEM behind their backs. Not the way to win people over. 


5. "We don't do that/I can't do that."  People are seeking solutions. If they are in front of you asking for something, it means they are hoping you can help them get it. If it's something you don't do now, consider if it's something you would be willing to do. Maybe you can develop a new income stream with it (especially if many others indicate they are looking for it, too). That doesn't mean you have to do it yourself–you can subcontract it out. If it's not something you're willing to do, offer an alternative of something comparable (or even better) that you DO do.


And if all else fails, offer an alternate resource for them (this is the benefit of having referral partners and doing extensive networking). People will remember that. Do you remember the good will that was created in "Miracle on 34th Street" when Macy's santa suggested parents shop at a competitor store who did carry an item Macy's didn't?


6. "It's not my fault/That's your problem." Ouch! This will immediately bristle people's hair and turn them against you. Blaming/pointing the finger at others or throwing them under the bus will only serve to make YOU look bad (as in #4 above). And having an "I'm right and you're wrong" or "you're on your own" attitude or response to people's complaints will not serve you well in business. Be willing to take responsibility, especially if you recognize any small part you might have played in creating the problem. Do the same if it's an employee or some other representative of your company (incuding a subcontractor) who contributed to the problem. And no matter what, problem-solve to find and offer a suitable resolution that both parties are wiling to accept, especially if the customer is one you want to keep. It takes more resources to find a new client than to keep an existing one.


If you'd like to read the original article and 11 phrases, click here.




1. Pay attention to your words over the next week and notice if you're using any of these (or other) disempowering, trust-busting phrases. Sometimes we don't realize what we're speaking until we really pay attention.

2. If you find yourself using any of these phrases, STOP and ask yourself, "What would a successful business owner say," then say that instead!

Do you need help changing your inner dialog to change your outer dialog? Schedule a FREE Strategy Session with me 
to identify what attitudes, beliefs and ideas are sabotaging a success mindset and learn how to create a change in language more quickly, easily and permanently through the power of your mind. (Remember, if you don't reach out for help, you'll keep yourself from the success you deserve longer than you need to.)

Your partner in success,

Lisa Smith
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach

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