For most young entrepreneurs, starting and running a business to pursue their own vision or an idea is a dream come true. This idea of theirs keeps them up at night calculating and planning for the voyage ahead. It’s this idea that may very well forever change their lives and the lives of people around them. And it’s this idea that will hopefully redefine their target industry and propel them forward.
And so it comes to pass that when young entrepreneurs who are absolutely enthralled by their idea, are given some criticism regarding their business they usually brush it off and automatically shut down the critic. Sounds like a job well done, right? After all, being an entrepreneur is all about pushing forward while everybody tells you to stop, right? The real answer is NO, it’s not good to brush off the criticism and shut down the person who is providing the criticism, especially if it’s constructive criticism!
I have to admit I’ve made this same mistake, over and over in the past. I used to just brush off the criticisms and go about my business as if nothing happened. Let me tell you, things changed! Now I go out of my way and seek as much criticism as possible, and in fact the harsher the criticism the more I like it. “Hey, what’s the big idea?” you may ask. Well, the idea is to expose your business to as many people in the industry as possible and get their feedback regarding your product. If you get much criticism from numerous people in the industry regarding the same thing, chances are they may very well have a valid point. Now it doesn’t mean you have to drop your business altogether, but if you’re smart you will pause and think about the feedback you received and perhaps tweak your business model to address the issues raised by the critics and avoid some serious potential pitfalls ahead!
Shopping for lots of criticism, that is before you actually spend all the money needed to develop and market the product, is like having an ability to test your future product for free. As an entrepreneur who goes out and asks industry insiders for their criticism, you are actually able to gauge market interest in your product and to avoid some of the potential pitfalls without actually spending all your time and money on introducing your product to the market. It’s really the best possible thing one can ask for. One also needs to keep in mind that it’s just feedback, whether or not you decide to act on it is completely up to you. Not all feedback is helpful, most may not be. However, if you get lots of feedback regarding the same issue from different knowledgeable individuals it can certainly help you steer your business in the right direction!
When getting a hold of someone who’s knowledgeable in your field of business, here are but a few questions you may want to ask them:
1)Why do you think my product will fail?
2)What changes would you make to my business model?
3)What kind of challenges do you think I will face down the line?
Notice the negative tone in the questions above? It’s like you’re asking for negative feedback, right? That is exactly the point! The reason for this is that you need to get feedback that will help you tweak and improve your product! If you are asking question simply to impress or elicit praise, don’t waste your time or the time of the person who has agreed to hear you out. If you’re not getting negative feedback then you are not maximizing the potential feedback you can get. Hearing how great your product is will not help you sell more of it!
While starting AdKiwi I personally made sure to set up meetings and talk to as many people in the industry as possible. I nailed down appointments with some of the biggest names in the industry and told them ahead of time that I want to know the brutal truth, regardless of how bad it may sound. I asked them to give it to me straight: if my product sucks I want to know why, If my presentation can be better I want to know about it, etc… the feedback I got has tremendously helped shape my product, not to mention saved my company lots of money! As an entrepreneur you have to be smart and resourceful if you want to even have a shot at succeeding. Analyzing and reacting based on the criticisms you receive will be one of the smartest moves you can make!
As a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of AdKiwi, Anatoliy brings his extensive experience in the fields of online marketing and business strategy. Prior to co-founding AdKiwi, Anatoliy has also co-founded DynamicOxygen.