If that’s your attitude, you’ll never succeed.
Have you ever used the term “my baby” for your business, startup or an idea you’re looking to get off the ground?
I know how you feel. And we all want to believe that our baby is perfect. Sorry, that’s just not the case.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners need a certain amount of ego, bravado and intestinal fortitude to succeed, but if you end up blind to the feedback of others you’re cutting off huge opportunities.
Your idea, business or startup might be great but it’s not perfect.
Here are some things to keep in mind when soliciting, digesting and accepting feedback:
- Be prepared for anything. When you start looking for feedback get ready for all manner of opinion and input. It’s almost impossible to get 100% agreement on anything, and even if you could, it’s not necessarily a good thing. Get enough feedback and it should run the gamut from “I hate this” to “I love this more than life itself.”
- Stay gracious. There’s no reason to bite the hand that feed(back)s you. Even if the person spits in your face (ok, feel free to respond less-than-graciously in that circumstance.)
- Ask questions. Don’t take feedback without following it up. Ask questions to get more information out of people. Start a dialogue with people, including those that provided scathing feedback and those that provided uber-positive feedback. Remember: feedback is only useful if it’s used. Building a discussion with people who provide feedback is one way of using it.
- Moderate the feedback. Don’t automatically dismiss the highest praise and lowest results from the feedback you receive (this isn’t figure skating) but finding the “center” of the curve (where most of the feedback would be plotted on a graph) is a good way of gauging the value of that feedback.
- Ambivalent feedback is the worst. I’d rather someone hate what I’m doing (cause there’s a good chance others exist on the opposite side of that spectrum) than not care at all. Ambivalency to an idea, business or startup is death.
- Shotgun reactions to feedback won’t help. There’s no point reacting insanely fast, or blasting a giant hole in the wall of your idea or business because of feedback. You’re not running a race, it’s a marathon. Better to take some time, digest the feedback, analyze it from a 50,000 foot view and the ground floor, before moving forward. (Am I mixing metaphors enough for you?)
Feedback is Your Friend.
Don’t shy away from it. Go out and get it. Share your ideas and be open-minded enough to accept feedback in whatever form it comes. Remember: love and hate are better than “whatever” ambivalence. Ambivalence sucks.