5 Ways to take in Negative Feedback and Rejection in the Startup World

They say for one to be successful, they should be willing to move from failure to failure and setback to setback without losing momentum.

Some, if not most of us, have received negative feedback, criticism or rejection before. Yet having the ability to accept it positively requires a certain amount of self-awareness as it can be tough to deal with sometimes.

If you can learn to handle rejection, criticism or negative feedback and turn it to your advantage, it can really help you grow your startup. Below are 5 steps on how to effectively handle negative feedback. Pick out those you think can work for you.

1. Avoid being reactionary

Ideally, when someone rejects or criticizes your work, there's a message they are sending you. Instead of focusing on the rejection or criticism, pause and listen to what that person is saying. It’s natural to want to defend yourself immediately especially when feeling riled up. But pause for a couple of seconds and take in what the client is saying.

It’s natural to want to defend yourself immediately especially when feeling riled up. But pause for a couple of seconds and take in what they're trying to communicate.

2. Put yourself in the person's shoes

Try as much as possible to understand things from the other party's perspective. Just because you have spent hundreds of hours working on your product doesn't mean people will like it.

Therefore, instead of sulking because someone doesn't like your product or pitch, simply imagine yourself in that person's position. If it were a client, would you spend on your product? If it were an investor, would you invest in what you're trying to get others to invest in?

In the end, this will help you avoid thinking that these people don't like you or just want you to fail. It will also help you become better, which feedback, rejection, and criticism are meant for.

3. Admit and ask for time

In cases where a client or investor rejects you or your product on the basis of something that can be worked on, it is safe to admit it. But, it is also better that you request them to give you a little time and you get back to the drawing board.

This will help defuse the emotions and the whole situation immediately which give you time to put the criticism in perspective. If they're understanding and it is not an urgent need on their end, they'll surely give you time.

But do also note that it is not a guarantee. For example, a prospect may be looking for a quick solution. So, it is also advisable that you assess the situation and understand how likely this is to work out.

Also read: 6 Ways to Nail Part-time Entrepreneurship in Africa

4. Analyze the feedback.

Feedback is only as good as the person giving it as well as how relevant it is to what you're working on. Whenever you get feedback, analyze it by asking yourself a few questions.

These include; Is it something you should look into? Are there facts backing this feedback? Get the opinion of your colleagues or a friend as it will enable you to stay objective.

You can also go an extra mile and ask the person giving you the feedback for anything else he/she thinks you should work on. This will give you more information to enable you to improve.

5. Don’t over apologize, don't take it personal

It is human to err. And, naturally, when you do that, people who wish you well will always step in. Criticism and negative feedback are part of life. If necessary, apologize once, maturely and sincerely.

Be concise in your apology, do not go overboard. An apology shows that you’ve acknowledged the problem and will solve it.

Secondly, don't think that because someone has criticized, they don't like you or your products. Unless otherwise, most people give criticism to help you get better. Therefore, don't take it personally.

It is advisable to take negative feedback as a learning opportunity. People who give you negative feedback, after all, is said want to see your startup improve and grow to serve them better.

Feedback enables learning from different perspectives as it gives you different points of view from the different clients. So, learn from the mistakes and move on to grow.

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