It finally has happened. I knew this day was coming. The day that something I made for someone would be rejected. This is the small business reality, that eventually someone won’t like what was produced. And for me, that day was today. As a small business owner, you come face to face with your customers. They know who you are. And then you own up to your work and your mistakes. Your work reflects who you are as a person, your standard of quality and excellence. Today, I had a customer kindly let me know she was disappointed with my work. And after her explanation, I totally understood and did my best to remedy the situation. Because I WANT people to be honest. If they don’t like it, they SHOULD tell me so that I can FIX it. So tip #1 for us small business owners:
TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
Everyone has their own opinions and ideas on how you should run your business or what the products should look like. If you look at anything hard enough, you’ll be able to find fault in it. There is nothing in this world that is perfect, and that includes any products you make or services you give. As a business owner, we have to prepare ourselves that we won’t be able to please everyone and there will be a day where we have to remedy an unhappy customer. To think that you’d be able to run a business perfectly and everything will be smooth sailing is only going to set you up to be sorely disappointed and discouraged. Just keep in mind that there are “good” criticism” and “bad” criticism. A good business owner knows which ones to receive and implement, and which ones to disregard with a smile. If there is even an OUNCE of truth in someone’s critique of your work, receive it! It will only take you to another level. But it does bring me to my second point:
DON’T EVER TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
When the lady told me how disappointed she was in my work, I was devastated. And it should’ve been an easy fix. Someone wasn’t happy. You fix it. Move on.
But I couldn’t. I felt REJECTED.
I mean, rejected to my core. I’m going to be real with you. I spent an hour crying. I questioned, not just my standard of quality and excellence, but I began to question myself. My perfectionist’s voice mocked me. My insecurities had a party. And I thought “I am not cut out for this. This small business stuff is too vulnerable. I’m too emotional. I’m too easily rejected. I take things too personally. I’m not good enough. I don’t know enough.”
I have had these kinds of days before in other businesses and areas of life. These are the kind of days that you ask yourself if it’s even worth it. But these are also the days that you grow from. These are the days when your beaten soul emerges stronger and more learned. These are the days that you remind yourself, it’s not about being perfect, because YOU’RE ALREADY AMAZING. It takes absolute GUTS and FAITH to start and grow your own business. When mistakes come and the voices that want to discourage you from continuing clouds your mind, train yourself to rise above it. Train yourself to combat those demeaning words of “you can’t do it, you won’t make it, you’re not cut out for this, you’ve always been a quitter” with “Yes I can do this. I will absolutely make it. I may have never done this before but I am always learning, always bettering, always growing so I will succeed. The only way I can fail is if I quit and I WILL NOT QUIT.” It is so easy to get caught up in the battlefield in your mind when negative thoughts come. The worst part is when you begin to agree with them! STOP IT! You’d be amazed by how much more encouraged and motivated you are when you give yourself grace, love, and acceptance. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
ALWAYS BE A LEARNER
I feel like at least 50% of my time building my business is spent learning from books, blogs, and online classes. I usually pick out 3-5 people that I feel are genuinely successful in their business growth. I follow them on social media and pick out patterns that work for them and then implement their habits and patterns so that it would make sense for me. I read up on whatever topics I feel I am lacking knowledge in like: SEO, Social Media Posting times, business networking, etc. There’s always another level to grow in. There’s always someone else that has gone before you (unless you’re Bill Gates maybe). But to strive to always be a learner will perhaps lessen the number of unhappy clients we have.
So, I am choosing to learn and then emerge. Here are a few more small business tips that may help all you entrepreneurs out there:
- Price is a valuable brand position. Don’t lower prices of your work just to make a sale. Because then you, subconsciously or not, will try to cut corners. Which then, in turn, cheapens your work. Your work is valuable. And if people can’t pay for your quality, then you shouldn’t lower prices just to accommodate them.
- Try not to accept jobs that you will have to rush in order to meet a deadline. Mistakes almost always happen when you rush. And the stress of meeting a deadline helps no one: not you, not your family and definitely not your project.
- Even if you do the best you can, you WILL disappoint someone. In business, this is inevitable. It’s ok to cry. But it’s not ok to quit just because it happened.
What are some of your tips for dealing with unhappy clients? Comment below!