How to Handle Criticism in Business

If you’re a business owner, you’re bound to face criticism at some point throughout your journey. While you’ll have many positive experiences, not everyone will be completely satisfied 100% of the time. It would be wonderful if the rest of the world was as excited and passionate about your business as you are!

Whether you’re dealing with criticism from complete strangers, or clients you work with on a regular basis, here are some tips on how to effectively deal with criticism in business.

How to Effectively Deal with Criticism in Business

Don’t take it personal

I know, easier said than done! I am a feisty Latina, so I had to (and still have to!) work really hard on this one. It is quite easy for me to get offended and take criticism as a personal attack. But you must remember that everyone sees through their own lens.

This means whether it’s a customer, family member, friend, or follower on social media, they don’t see things the same way as you do because of their own experiences and that’s ok. You want differing opinions because it will challenge you to learn and grow in your business, which will result in better outcomes for you and your customers.

People will often also react on emotion depending on what’s going on in their life.
There will always be someone unhappy or that doesn’t understand, and it could just be a result of having a bad day.

Remember why you started your business and know that criticism from others is not a personal attack on you, nor does it define you or your choices. 

Respect differing opinions and handle with grace

 When it comes to owning a business, a piece of that responsibility is being able to respect differing opinions. This can be especially important when you have family or friends close to you that don’t understand your business. Not everyone will fully understand or support you.

Remember why you started your business journey and that you are the only one that can choose your own path in life and no one else needs to choose it for you.  

On the other hand, when it comes to customers, while you are the one in charge, you must keep your customers’ needs and interests in mind as they are the reason you are in business!

Learning how to respect their right to disagree builds integrity and trust of your business and may even change their mind for the better.

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Understand when it’s time to move on

Occasionally, you may deal with customers or people out there who just don’t want to give up on the criticism. So, how do you deal with it? Knowing when to move on is critical.

Getting stuck on the opinion of one person will only drain energy you could be investing in customers who love your services.

Remember that this is ONE person and there are billions of people in this world that have the potential to love your services. Do not let ONE drag you down. Dwelling on the negative will only attract more negative for your business and nobody wants that!

Think of it as a challenge for yourself to appreciate the customers who love your services. You will want to invest that much more into making them absolutely perfect because they see the true value in what you provide!

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Look, owning a business can be hard enough on its own. The last thing you need is to be too hard on yourself. Giving yourself a little push is one thing but walking all over yourself only results in self-defeat and valuable time and energy away from what really matters. There are enough people in this world that have negative opinions, they are not where your time is best spent.

You’ve worked really hard to get to the point where you are. There is no reason anyone, including yourself, should try to convince you otherwise. Remind yourself why you started and pick back up again, you’ve totally got this!

You will forget the criticism in a short amount of time anyway! You’re too busy adding incredible value to others’ lives to let negative opinions way you down, focus there.

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Ask clarifying questions

After you receive feedback from your customer, ask clarifying questions so you can avoid the potential issue in the future. This allows you to explore the why behind their criticism. After all, it may be a misunderstanding on either part. You can ask questions like “Can you give me an example of where this happened?” or “What should I do differently in the future?”  Be prepared to listen and not get defensive.

Feedback is your friend, and it will only help you improve your business.

Take whatever they say into consideration and judge whether it feels reasonable or seems like a complete surprise. If it is a complete surprise decide to respectfully listen and then gracefully move on. 

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Discuss the feedback with a mentor

There’s no better way to handle criticism than discussing negative feedback you received with a mentor.

Chances are, they’ve encountered this experience multiple times before and are well equipped to provide you with good advice. It’s a great way to receive an unbiased perspective from someone you trust. They’ll be able to take the emotion out of the feedback and better advise you on the subject.

This is a great way to remain focused on the facts and not the feelings associated with the feedback. Mentors have a great way of putting things into perspective while comforting you at the same time.

In Conclusion: How to Deal with Criticism in Business

Owning and running your own business has many perks, but everyone will face criticism at some point. It’s how you choose to handle and respond to that criticism that matters.

Just remember that feedback is your friend