No matter how phenomenal your product, as an entrepreneur you’re going to encounter criticism. From competitors unhappy with your success to friends and family who don’t understand your vision, critiques are a part of entrepreneurship. Your ability to handle criticism will not only help you build a better company, it will strengthen you as an entrepreneur. If you’re determined to improve your ability to handle criticism, following are a few crucial tips you should bear in mind:
– Understand the motivation of the individual offering the critique. Are they a product user hoping to better understand your offering? Are they an online troll just looking to push your buttons? Knowing the difference between an honest critique and a “haters-gonna-hate” troll is essential to how you handle less-than-positive feedback.
– The ability to welcome open feedback is imperative for entrepreneurs who want to build a successful company. Founders who systematically tune out negative feedback are destined to end up on the failed startup pile. Welcoming critiques of your business opens you up to product development opportunities you might not otherwise have considered. Instead of looking at criticism in a negative light, adjust your thinking and welcome criticism as free product-development insights.
– How you respond to criticism is just as important as your willingness to accept critiques of your business. Founders who respond with anger or retaliatory accusations expose themselves to a whole heap of online trolling. Respond from a place of honesty, willingness to do better, and sharing of knowledge; it could be that criticisms stem from a lack of understanding of how your business works and misreading your product development roadmap.
– Learn to discern between helpful criticisms and distractions. Not every critique needs to impact how you grow your company. While some criticisms can lead to product or service tweaks, others are just distractions for you and your team. Are criticisms coming from paying users or drive-by know-it-alls? Will implementing a suggested change lead to increased revenues or happier customers? An entrepreneur’s ability to understand the difference between a helpful critique from a customer and a nuisance suggestion from a troublemaker is essential for long-term success.
Developing a thick skin and an open heart will stand you in good stead as an entrepreneur. You need to remain focused on your business goals and not let detractors steer you off course. While some criticisms can be light bulb moments for you and your team, others are nothing more than jealousy, misunderstandings, and spite. The faster you learn to understand the motivations of those offering criticisms, the better off you’ll be as an entrepreneur.
What are you thoughts on criticism?