Everybody loves compliments. We eat them up when our friends, relatives, and coworkers tell us that we have a great idea and that we’re going to be really successful. Who doesn’t love hearing that they look great and they’re going places? I know I do. The thing is, though, if you’re an entrepreneur, you learn pretty quickly that criticism and negative feedback are actually a lot more valuable than compliments and flattery.
From the other side of the table, if I see something in an entrepreneur and their ideas, I’m going to start asking questions. If I think they’re onto something, but I’m not sure it’s the right move for me or I think they need some work, I’m going to tell them. Why? Well, because I like seeing entrepreneurs succeed, and I love watching them come back with a few more answers and a little more insight to show me that we can make some money together on a cool venture.
Daymond learned a lot about the value of negative feedback on his way to becoming an investor and giving his own feedback on Shark Tank. Here are a few lessons you can learn when someone tells you what they really think of your idea or your business plan.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
First of all, whether you’re standing in front of an investor who doesn’t see the worth of your idea or a customer gives you a terrible review online, don’t take it personally. Yes, you’ve put your whole heart and soul into your idea and your business, but taking it personally isn’t going to help you out at all. It’s only going to make you mad, and it could make you shut down and miss a great opportunity for improvement.
KNOWING HOW YOU CAN FAIL HELPS YOU AVOID FAILURE
Daymond can’t tell you how many times an entrepreneur has stood in front of him, thinking they have a foolproof plan, only to be completely blindsided when he points out a weakness or two. He can almost always tell who’s going to make it (with this idea or another one) and who’s going to give up when this happens.
How? True entrepreneurs are always looking for ways that their businesses and ideas can fail. They’re not doing it to be negative or to find an excuse to quit – they’re doing it so they can figure out all of their contingency and exit strategies. Just knowing how your idea can fail gets you one step closer to success. So, if someone points out a weakness in your idea or your business plan that you didn’t see before, thank them, and then get back to the drawing board to fix it.
FIX THE WEAK POINTS IN YOUR PRESENTATION OR BRANDING
Whether you’re presenting to investors, friends, or a focus group, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re not going to get your presentation exactly right the first time, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur. If you get negative feedback about an unclear message, or your audience otherwise doesn’t understand something about your product, this gives you an opportunity to work on your presentation and/or branding.
Instead of saying, “Ugh, they just didn’t understand what I was trying to say!” take the feedback as constructive criticism. If you have a chance, ask questions about what your audience didn’t understand or how you can better represent your brand, products, or services. If not, take the comments and criticisms they gave you and use them to improve your presentation the next time around.
Negative feedback is a gift if you know how to use it, so don’t be sad when you get it – be grateful and keep working!