How to handle negativity when launching a business

Workplace and wellbeing

24 February 2017

You’ve got a great idea for a new business. You’re ready to take the plunge and go solo. You excitedly tell your friends and family your plans – and are met with a barrage of concerns and negative comments.

You feel demoralised and start to doubt yourself. But don’t quit! Here are our tips for handling criticism and finding some constructive feedback instead.

Understand the reasons behind the negativity

It’s really difficult to have your Dragon’s Den pitch shot down in flames by your nearest and dearest. Before you lose heart, remember that they are probably simply concerned. After all, starting a new business has risks, and they’re trying to protect you.

Those who have always had salaried jobs can find it hard to understand the entrepreneurial mindset. They may also be envious of your can-do attitude and bolder vision.

Search out constructive comments

We instinctively approach friends and family with our ideas; however they’re not necessarily the best people to seek advice from. Search out industry peers and mentors who can encourage you and offer more constructive advice.

Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good starting place. They’ll introduce you to helpful people and invite you to networking events. Are there any other business groups in your community or groups of freelancers you could join? Social media groups can turn into real-life support networks. You may have friends or former colleagues in a similar position that will buddy you – provided you’re not the competition.

Answer your critics

It would be all too easy to turn negative comments into an argument. Try to resist this. Instead, show any naysayers your well-thought-out business plan, which will put their minds to rest, and will work wonders for getting people on side.

Stay positive

Above all, don’t lose faith in yourself. Trust your own instincts and talents, and listen to the advice of those who know their stuff.

If you ever doubt yourself, just remember that Bill Gates’ first business failed, Elvis was told to go back to trucking and Marilyn Monroe was advised to become a secretary.

If these success stories survived early criticism, so can you.