How to Handle Constructive Criticism (4 Tips for Filtering and Taking Feedback to Grow Your Business)

June 1, 2021
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Taking constructive feedback isn’t always easy and can even be uncomfortable. Being a free-spirited creative or a Type-A business owner can make it more difficult to see the upside to criticism. The ability to consider constructive criticism like a boss is not only a sign of emotional maturity, it allows you to hear an outside perspective that will most often take you to the next level. That’s why Emily is sharing her tips for receiving, filtering, and using constructive criticism.


4 Tips for Filtering and Taking Feedback to Grow Your Business

Know Whose Opinion Matters

As a business owner or creative entrepreneur, you need to define when, where, and from whom you’re accepting feedback and criticism. If you don’t take this step, you could end up working to apply the feedback that isn’t even relevant to your business. When it comes to identifying those people from which you want to accept constructive feedback, we love this powerful exercise from Dr. Brené Brown that she shared with us in Episode 42. Using a 1-inch square of paper, you’ll list the names of everyone whose opinions you find important. You can’t fit very many names on such a small piece of paper and that’s the point. Make sure you consider including the people whose lives and work you affect with your work. These can be your paying customers or clients and even your team.

Ask for Feedback

When you ask for feedback you can gain access to the opinions of those who matter to use in growing your business. As a business owner, you have the ability to make asking for feedback a part of your processes. Consider adding a step to collect feedback in your annual or quarterly business review, during your client on-boarding or off-boarding process, or when you’re planning any major changes in your business. Seeking out feedback puts you in control. You can apply the filters you’ve identified, ask the key people that matter and avoid any unsolicited feedback.

Remove Yourself from the Feedback Gathering Process

If you struggle with disconnecting yourself or self-worth from feedback or criticism you receive in your business, you may find yourself avoiding it all together. Removing yourself from the feedback-gathering process can be an effective approach. This can look like hiring an assistant or asking a member of your team to work with you through this process. Have them lead creating the questionnaires and sending surveys to your community, mailing list, or customers. Have the final results collected and presented to you based on what’s important to your business.

Implement Constructive Feedback in Your Business

The first step in implementing feedback into your business, is filtering out anything that isn’t relevant. Some constructive criticism you receive won’t align with your goals. It may even be asking you to be someone you are not or asking you to build a business you never intended. You will be able to identify relevant feedback. It will align with parts of your business that you know need updating or fixing. At times, your audience will also share ideas for expanding what you do or sharing it in a more accessible way. The last step is incorporating the actionable feedback into your project management system, making sure it becomes a part of your implementation plan.

Remember that feedback isn’t a reflection of your self-worth; it is an opportunity for you to do business better. To make the most of this opportunity, first identify whose feedback matters and whose you won’t consider. Next, remove yourself from the process of gathering feedback if that helps you actually ask for it. Once you have that feedback, make sure you have a system in place for implementing it to take your business forward.


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[00:00:00] Taking feedback as a free-spirited, creative or a type a business owner isn't often very easy, but taking feedback with grace is not only a sign of emotional maturity but considering constructive criticism and your work will likely give you a leg up on your competitors because it is often outside perspective that will allow you to take it to the next level.

[00:00:21] Now, because I know this isn't easy work. I'm here to share with you a four tips for not only at receiving and filtering it criticism but using feedback to grow your business.

[00:00:36] Welcome back to 10 Minutes to Being Boss a bite-size show, offering up tips, tools, and tactics for helping you do business. I'm Emily Thompson. And today we're talking, taking feedback and criticism and applying it to our businesses. But before we dive in, I do want to share more about our sponsor Podia.

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[00:01:39] Okay. I'm not going to lie, taking feedback even makes me feel gross. But as a boss, it is a major part of your journey. And as I mentioned before, oftentimes it is outside perspective. It's that outside feedback or constructive criticism that will help you take what you're doing to the next level. So these four tips are here to help you.

[00:02:00] Get into the flow, learn to deal with feedback and criticism in a way that will help you because that little mindset shift really is a key foundational part of you being in a place where you can take this feedback and use it to grow what you're doing. So tip number one for you is to know whose opinion matters.

[00:02:24] I'll never forget interviewing Dr. Brene Brown for episode number 42 of the Being Boss podcast and her sharing a really powerful exercise for taking constructive feedback, especially as a creative. Process includes taking a one inch square of paper, a really small piece of paper and writing the names of everyone whose opinion matters. And because it is just a one inch square, not very many names are going to fit on that piece of paper. You're only going to be able to fit a fair few. And those people are the only people whose opinion matters when it comes to taking it feedback or criticism. 

[00:03:08] Now as a professional, creative, or as a business owner, you do often need to expand that one inch square a little bit to include your paying clients and your customers, your team, the people whose lives and work are affected by your work as well.

[00:03:26] But the key here is that you have defined whose opinion matters and whose opinion doesn't matter. Personally, I don't take unsolicited feedback. If a follower on Instagram has some beef with me, but they've never been a customer they've never purchased. I've never spoken to them before their opinion doesn't matter.

[00:03:46] However my best customers, my biggest fans, those who have been with me through thick and thin those customers, those followers, those fans, those are the people whose opinions can count for something. The key here is that you have defined, you have written out even whose opinion matters,  whose feedback and criticism matters. Anyone who's not on that list doesn’t. That simple definition will go so far in assisting you and really filtering through whose opinion matters or not in a way that makes it easier for you to accept the feedback that you need to accept.

[00:04:26] And there's also a line that you can draw between solicited and unsolicited feedback, which we'll get to a bit more in a moment and constructive versus unconstructive criticism. I personally don't take unconstructive criticism. If you have something negative to say about what it is that I'm doing, at least give a bit more perspective.

[00:04:45] Otherwise you're just griping and that's not feedback that I'm going to accept. Again, the key here is to define when and where, and from whom you are going to be accepting feedback or criticism. It is the first step and that you empowering yourself to take the feedback that you need that is allowed.

[00:05:07] That is relevant to what it is that you're doing and apply it to your business or your creativity

[00:05:12]which leads me into number two, I mentioned a moment ago about unsolicited feedback.

[00:05:17] That's not something that I generally take. However, in order to not take unsolicited feedback, I need to occasionally solicit feedback. So number two is for you to ask for feedback. As a business owner, you have the ability to make asking for feedback a part of your process. And whether this is you asking every single client that you work with as part of those individual processes, or you make it a part of your annual or quarterly process to ask for feedback from the people that you serve.

[00:05:51]Or in the process of doing something like rebranding your business, you make it a part of that process to ask your peers, your best customers. What they think about new direction.

[00:06:02]The idea is that you do occasionally solicit feedback so that you can gain access to the information and to the opinions of those who matter of those who are on your list and you're able to utilize it to grow your business. Here at Being Boss, every September or October, we send out a survey to our entire list.

[00:06:21] We share it with our audience on Instagram. We share it with our audience on our podcast and we ask them for feedback. It's both a way for us to get a survey of our audience, to see who is engaging with the brand, and also hear more about what they would like for us to do or do better. It's been an annual part of our process for many years.

[00:06:42] And it is time when we solicit feedback from the people who matter to us and we have made it part of our process to also take that feedback and use it in our business as well.

[00:06:54]It's a really great way that allows us to sort of put our blinders on to the bearish, barrage. Am I saying that right? Barrage? I don't know that I've ever said that word out loud, but the large amount of feedback that could be coming at us at any given time. We can sort of ignore that more or less. And instead, focus on the times when we have solicited feedback from the people who matter and use it to grow our business.

[00:07:22]Now for number three, this is often the tip that I give for people who have a really hard time taking feedback or criticism in either your creative work or in your business as a whole. Just because you have a hard time at taking feedback does not mean that you should not be taking feedback. Instead, what I always recommend for business owners in this position is to actually remove yourself from the feedback-gathering process.

[00:07:54]What this can look like is you hiring an assistant or getting another member of your team to work with you, to put together the questionnaire or the feedback process, have them send it out to your email list or to your customers, have them take in the information and take from it. Everything that needs to be taken, sort of create some pie charts for you, if you want, or create a list of requested.

[00:08:21]Features or the grades that your customers are asking in your business or your process to take that feedback for you to pair it down to just the pieces that are the most relevant and then have them present it to you. It's a sort of a tricky way to get around it, but I find this to be highly effective for people who have a hard time disconnecting themselves, or even sometimes their self-worth from the feedback or criticism that they receive.

[00:08:48] If you can instead remove yourself. From the process of getting that feedback of filtering through that feedback of finding just the pieces that, that are the constructive pieces that, you know, you can use to grow your business. If you can remove yourself from that part of the process. One you're much more than likely to actually seek out that feedback and two, it's going to be easier for you to use it, to grow your business.

[00:09:12] So number three is for you to remove yourself from the feedback gathering process. If it's holding you back from gathering feedback and actually using it in your business, which takes me into tip number four, which is for you to actually implement your feedback in your business. There is a filtering process that has to happen where you need to go through and make sure that all of the feedback that you're receiving is paired down to the most relevant pieces.

[00:09:43] In my experience, a good quarter of the feedback that you receive isn't relevant to you or what it is that you do. It's simply someone wanting you to be someone you're not someone wanting you to build the business that you're not here to build or someone who hasn't even seen that you have done the thing that you want them to [00:10:00] do.

[00:10:00]Which in itself is even, a little tip for you to make the things that you do, perhaps a little more accessible.

[00:10:06]So you first do have to filter through the feedback, all of it, and take from it the most important pieces and you'll know the important pieces because you'll know these as parts of your business that you do need to fix update or add to, or take away from,

[00:10:24]you'll also find that sometimes your customers or your audience has brilliant ideas for ways that you can expand what you do or share it in a new, different, and more accessible way. 

[00:10:34] So there is this filtering process that has to happen whenever you were going through this solicited feedback. And then beyond that, you take the best pieces and you actually implement them in your business. I take them. And I put them as line items in my, in my project list that I keep. And I, I go at them as I would

[00:10:52] any other project that comes up in our business. They become a part of our plan for what we're implementing over the coming months. And I implement the feedback or make useful the constructive criticism that I receive from those people who matter to me most at the time when I am soliciting the feedback just as I would any other project.

[00:11:13] And it allows me to implement on all of that amazing, valuable feedback that I received from the people who matter most to me, my creativity and my business.

[00:11:24]And there you have it, a couple of quick and easy tips for assisting you in gathering and implementing feedback and constructive criticism in your business. You have to know whose feedback you are going to take. And whose does not matter, you going to remove yourself from the process.

[00:11:42] If you need to, you are going to take the time to solicit feedback from those who matter to you most, and you will implement it because it will help you grow your business. Now have fun, take care, remember no feedback or constructive criticism has anything to do with your self worth. It is simply an opportunity for you to do business better.

[00:12:08] And until next time do the work, be boss.