So many of my Inc. readers work in fields which are unfathomably competitive, and become more so each day with the whir and click of digital technology.
Yet within this searing environment is the necessity to exercise a certain discretion of selectiveness.
Not every opportunity offered is one you should take. Not every open door is one you should walk through.
Any entrepreneur knows how challenging it can be to find investors. There are horror stories about business-owners struggling for years to secure the right financing.
Such lore can make you feel like you have to say yes to any investor who's willing to cut a check.
You need to be picky enough to find investors who are willing to work with your growth model, support your leadership, and who aren't going to insist you make money immediately--and expect an immediate return if you can't provide one.
Jumping into such relationships too quickly can lower the bar for the level of results you are able to reap and stunt your long-term growth.
Brand partnerships can be an effective way to fast-track your growth in a short amount of time, though you should be extremely selective with who you partner with.
Their brand image and reputation need to echo or complement your own.
Pairing up with a fantastic like minded company can do wonders for you; conversely, pairing up with a brand that is riddled with issues might do damage that could take years to repair.
Likewise, being picky with your consumer base is also pivotal. Many business owners feel that turning away clients is unthinkable, especially if finances are strained or they are new to the industry.
Being highly selective about which clients you take on, and not being afraid to turn clients away, asserts you as a company of extreme value.
Weeding out employees and clients who frustrate--as they cause loads of unnecessary stress--only empowers you in the end, as it forces you to prize your precious time above all else.
This ultimately creates a stronger company, as this mental energy is now liberated to be focused on more productive and fun endeavors.
This is one of the main philosophies of billionaire Manoj Bhargava, CEO and creator of the "5-hour Energy" drink. Bhargava believes in eliminating anything or anyone that creates aggravation, as he says it is "the largest cost in business."
Last year, we decided to implement this strategy at our company.
We were finding that difficult--aggravating--clients were not only taking loads of extra time in the office to manage and coddle, they were also sucking up large amounts of our head space outside of work.
Implementing this created extra space for us to focus on working with a higher end client.
As much as I encourage risk-taking and overall daring in business and in life, being selective is a form of bravery as well. It takes courage to put your foot down and say "no."
This empowers you to select the best partners, employees, customers, and platforms, setting you up for long-term and sustainable success.
While some might be fearful of being selective--especially when getting your business off the ground--being exceptionally picky can often mean the difference between marginal success and mega success.