When someone starts out as an entrepreneur, the excitement and passion for the new venture squelches the criticism. Eventually, however, the fear of criticism tends to creep back. Whether it’s received from a mentor, a peer, or the general public, unsolicited advice about your business can, plain-and-simple, hurt your ego. How do you combat this inevitable process? We’ve outlined our recommendations below:
Be open: Don’t be scared of change or adapting to the ever-evolving marketplace. Keep an open mind and be prepared to make modifications when necessary. If you’re utilizing your resources properly to stay abreast of industry, regional and national trends, you will feel confident when responding to suggestions and will welcome advice more easily.
Listen: Negative feedback may be frustrating at first, but remember that it’s an opportunity to improve. When customers provide you with a long critique stating their dissatisfaction, take a step back and analyze why they made this critique. If the feedback is legitimate and not fueled by circumstances out of your control, listen more closely to find a way to satisfy future customers. Listen, believe, verify, and then problem-solve. This philosophy will help you grow both personally and professionally.
Respond: Before responding to criticism, constructive or otherwise, it’s often best to take a pause from the situation. This gives you a chance to clear your head and eliminate your emotions from your reply. With a positive attitude, acknowledge the person who made the comment. Stay professional, respond promptly, and learn from the critique.
Breathe: Don’t stress out or overreact to the situation. You can’t stop criticism, as pleasantly presented as it may be. It’s something you must accept to find peace as a business-owner. You can either look at the glass half full, finding gratitude for the volunteered insight, or you can sit back stubbornly, growing angry with the responses. Either way – they’re still going to keep on coming! Charles Swindoll once said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than fact.” Your attitude towards criticism has an impact on your company.
How do you respond to criticism?
Looking for more about entrepreneurial fears? Check out the links in this blog post.