Published on September 21st, 2013 | by Jose Vasquez0
Tips for Responding to Criticism in Startup Tech Companies
Criticism is never easy to take, but you have to be able to respond eloquently and effectively if you’re going to successfully defend your product and your brand’s reputation.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to face a lot of criticism in a lot of different scenarios. Investors, team members, customers, and competitors will all have something negative or critical to say about your company or your approach. While you should always listen to constructive criticism, it’s important to understand that it’s a natural part of running any startup, and you should not take it personally.
However, no matter what type of criticism you receive or how you receive it, you should always make an effort to respond. Failing to respond can make it seem like you don’t care what others think of your business, and can make you seem oblivious to others’ opinions. It can be difficult, especially if the criticism is harsh, but these tips can help you make the most of the occasion:
- Know your medium. Don’t respond to a critical tweet with a lengthy apology letter, and don’t respond to a formal question by an investor with a vague answer.
- Respond quickly. The longer you let something linger, the less effective your response is going to be. NEVER ignore criticism.
- Accept responsibility. If you did something wrong, admit to it. If someone has valid criticism, accept it. Be gracious and your customers will respect you greatly.
- Take note. One voice may not be enough to warrant a full shift in your product positioning, but if you begin to see a pattern—take note and make some changes.
- Focus on facts. Don’t hypothesize or speculate. Stick to what you know, and don’t make guesses. Guessing can make a bad situation far worse.
- Be realistic. Don’t make wordy apologies or hefty promises. Be realistic and practical in your responses.
- Be direct. Don’t beat around the bush with your response—tackle the issue head on and explain your perspective precisely.
Make sure to keep these points in mind whenever you respond to criticism, whether publicly or privately. The more calm and focused you can keep yourself, the better you’ll look and the more people will respect your company and your brand.
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