Every entrepreneur is going to be forced to listen to constructive feedback. As much as we all like to believe that we know the proper ways to run a business, the reality is that it takes a lot of work. There’s marketing, payroll, networking, communication, and so many other factors that we as business owners have to learn in order to run an effective and profitable company. And the even bigger reality we all must face is accepting the fact that we can’t be experts in every field. Sometimes our ventures fall by the wayside and it results in negative feedback or harsh reviews.
Now, speaking of terms within your business that you pride yourself in; well, those are subject to constructive feedback too. Not everyone is going to like your photography style, your writing tone, or even the way you communicate. Whatever your niche is, the one thing you need to stop yourself from doing it’s getting defensive. There’s a right and a wrong way to take constructive criticism. And the best way to take constructive feedback is to use it to improve your bottom line.
What Is Constructive Feedback?
People associate constructive feedback with the term “constructive criticism.” Constructive feedback is actually a positive reinforcement given from one professional to another. As opposed to constructive criticism, the goal for this kind of feedback is to help your peers see where they might be falling short.
People automatically take negative feedback and go on the defensive. Because how dare someone tell you how to run your business? However, those who give constructive feedback are only doing so because they see potential in your business endeavors and they are trying to nudge you in the right direction. It may just be one person’s opinion, but if you keep getting the same type of feedback, it may be time to reevaluate your business tactics.
Constructive Feedback Examples
We see examples of constructive feedback all the time. Whether it comes from our peers or our customers, negative feedback is just part of owning your own business. The term “you can’t make everyone happy” is regularly proven in this type of career.
You’ll know if someone is giving you constructive feedback versus constructive criticism based on the way they phrase their comment. For example, e-commerce websites are subject to product and service reviews on a daily basis. If you own your own online boutique, you actually want this type of review. However, there are those people who like to complain just for the sake of expressing their opinion. Anyone who comments with nothing but damaging opinions or blind accusations is not giving you constructive feedback.
Constructive feedback is a polite way to point out potential flaws in a business plan. And while that person may not know what your day-to-day niche entails, they are giving and outward opinion that could help you to improve your bottom line.
Examples of Non-Constructive Feedback
Constructive criticism are harsh and unhelpful comments with the sole purpose of damaging a business. They’ll say things like:
“This company sucks and I’m never coming back!”
“You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“Why do you do things this way? You should be doing it my way instead.”
Examples of Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback may start off as a question of the layout of your business, with subtle suggestions on how to improve it.
“I like your work, but what if you tried doing this instead?”
“Do you think people will respond positively to that marketing plan?”
“I’ve seen other successful companies do this. Maybe you should try it, too!”
And for those who don’t pick up on this constructive feedback, they might just say:
“I’ve seen the same quality work for less price. I’m sorry we couldn’t continue our arrangement.”
“I don’t think this is a good fit. I don’t agree with your strategies and I think we should go in different directions.”
If you cannot except someone’s true opinion of your service or business model especially when they’ve actually used your service, you will be destined to fail. As a small business owner/entrepreneur the only way you are going to get better and grow is to listen to customer feedback and constructive feedback.
How To Respond To Constructive Feedback
It’s never a good feeling when you lose a client or a business partner due to wavering differences. However, it’s important to take their reason for leaving and use it to evaluate your business. What if another person sees the same flaw later on and you lose another client?
When you respond to constructive feedback, it’s important to keep a professional demeanor. After all, you don’t want to be burning any bridges. Although it might be your first instinct, refrain from lashing out at the other person. Remind yourself that they are trying to give you positive and reinforcing feedback; not telling you how to run your business.
Before you sever contact, take some time to consider their point of view. Could you change your prices? Offer them something different? Whatever their qualm is, try to see it from their perspective and see if there is something you should do to change it or perhaps, explain its value.
And above else, just analyze the other person’s behavior. Were they being rude or defensive? In cases like that, it could be that the person simply doesn’t understand your business and it’s best to go your separate ways anyway. They could be giving your harsh criticism simply on the basis that they see potential in your work and they are looking for a reason to put you down. Green doesn’t look good on anyone.
Don’t Take It Personally
Whether someone is giving you bona fide constructive feedback or just looking to insult your business, try not to take it too personally. It’s definitely okay to feel insulted, but don’t let them see that. Instead, try asking them for specifics about what they didn’t like about your product or service. That way, you can use that information to your advantage instead of deliberately avoiding feedback. Don’t take constructive feedback personally, take it under consideration instead.
Admittedly your blind hatred for this person may get in the way of you acting calmly and professionally. But before you react, take a look at the source. Are they credible? Do they have a history of experience in your line of work? If not, then there is no reason to take their feedback to heart. They may just be making assumptions and you may know better anyway.
And lastly, if you can’t come to terms with this person’s opinion, just move forward. It can be hard to let go of something that hits a nerve, but if you don’t understand their perspective or simply don’t want to, let it go and move on from the situation.
Benefits of Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback is not only beneficial to your entrepreneurial success, but it’s also vital. It helps your business grow and succeed because you’re taking your flaws that other people see and you’re working to fix them. Mistakes or oversights happen a lot in solo business ventures because, as we discussed, you can’t do everything perfectly all by yourself.
Being able to take constructive feedback and use it in both a professional and positive aspect shows that you have character. And because there is nothing really stopping people from giving unsolicited constructive feedback or criticism, it helps you build a stronger backbone. These people will come and go throughout your career, but as long as you are willing to have an open mind and use constructive feedback to improve your bottom line, there is no limit to how much you can achieve.
Have you ever been given constructive feedback on your business? What was your reaction? Tell me about it in the comments below!