Responding to Criticism as an Entrepreneur

Criticism, at some level at least, is basically guaranteed as an entrepreneur. This becomes increasingly true as you accomplish any real level of success. As this happens, it also becomes more and more important that you become skilled at responding to criticism.

Identifying Types of Criticism

Not all criticism is created equally, nor does it require the same approach or response. Therefore, it’s critical that you learn to distinguish the value of the criticism being levied, as well as how to respond accordingly. This is important for a few reasons.

Firstly, having a high degree of emotional intelligence about criticism you receive will help you overcome any fear you have of criticism in general. Being able to recognize the difference between constructive criticism

Secondly, you will be able to respond to criticism in ways that are actually helpful—both to yourself individually, and your company. Was what they said actually constructive?

If not, what was the spirit behind their comment? Was it actually malignant, or simply misplaced? Was it out of frustration? Have there been similar issues in the past?

Getting to the bottom of what brought on the criticism will not only make you a stronger business leader, it could significantly improve your bottom line. Correctly identifying the motivation behind the criticism will empower you to respond more effectively, which could make the difference between losing or retaining a customer.  

Responding to Criticism

There are also times when you may face criticism that requires you to stand up for your company, its reputation, and its foundational ideals or beliefs. However, in these situations it is vital to keep your cool and respond appropriately. If you are not being confronted with the criticism in-person, then pause for a moment, take a breath, step away from the situation, and think about how to best respond. Reacting emotionally in the moment almost always leads to a worse situation than you started with and will accomplish very little for you.

If, after contemplating the criticism, you still stand behind your original decision, respond with an explanation of the reasoning behind it while acknowledging your consideration of alternatives.

An important thing to remember when responding to criticism is that being criticized at all means you are doing something noteworthy at some level. After all, how was that person aware of you enough to criticize you in the first place? While this does not mean criticism is automatically a positive thing, it is still better to find yourself facing scrutiny than receiving absolutely zero feedback.

On social media platforms such as your brand’s Facebook page, do not attempt to censor or repress criticism by deleting comments or reviews unless something generally offensive that you would normally delete is said. Instead, it’s better to address criticism directly. In our world of electronic communication, nothing ensures the spreading of something than trying to keep it from spreading.

As your company grows, it is vital to understand that criticism is a normal part of doing business. Instead of fearing it or overreacting in your response, it is critical to learn how to properly respond. Not only will this help you and your company grow and evolve, but it will also improve your relationship with customers.  


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