The entrepreneurial journey is one of many ups and downs. It might be a cliché to describe it as a roller-coaster ride, but with so many twists and turns, moments of sheer elation and blind terror — it’s a cliché that works.
As an entrepreneur, you have to put yourself out there. You are the public face of your business, and there’s no hiding. This isn’t just a job — it’s your dream, and as such, it can be difficult not to take any setbacks personally.
This isn’t good for you, your mental health or your business.
A Business Built on Pride and Passion
I recently spent the day with a client who runs a restaurant in a British coastal resort. To say he is exceptionally proud of his business is an understatement. His business is his life. This pride and passion is reflected in his service — which I believe is excellent.
This is backed up by numerous positive reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, write-ups in the local press, a ton of “likes” on Facebook and even an award from the local tourist board.
But the shine of all this positivity is tarnished by a handful of negative reviews. Despite the posts heaping praise on his business clearly outweighing — he focuses his attention on the negative.
Some of these poor reviews are salvageable — a glitch in customer service here or an unavoidable problem there. These can be handled with an apology and the offer of a discount voucher, a free bottle of wine or dessert the next time the patron calls in. Sometimes, simply acknowledging the problem is enough — people accept that businesses cannot always be at the top of their game all of the time.
However, just occasionally, some of these reviews are (in my client’s mind) a little more sinister. They are cutting, rude, SHOUTING (ALL CAPS) and nearly always anonymous. My client spent far too much time during our meeting focusing on this tiny number of negative posts.
He wanted to know:
- Who the person was (could we track them down?).
- If there was any way we could get the reviews taken down.
- Would it be worthwhile getting a lawyer involved? (Only if you are the lawyer.)
My advice didn’t please him.
You cannot please all the people all the time. Some people won’t like what you do. Some people may be jealous or have some other grudge against you. The best thing you can do in these situations is not to pour fuel on the fire, and instead simply ignore them.
Note: Never ignore a salvageable complaint — try and take it offline as quickly as possible and turn the negative into the positive. However, when a complaint is completely unreasonable, you’ve sometimes got to let it go.
When people read reviews they focus on the overlying trends. When the vast majority of reviews are positive, readers will go away with this impression.
So focus on keeping your core audience happy, make sure you pick up any dropped balls and don’t let the occasional poor review knock the wind out of your sails.
Remember, if the vast majority of people think you are doing a great job — you probably are.
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.