Rejection is a difficult pill to swallow. For entrepreneurs, it can make or break you. A business plan, a loan, a partnership rejection – you name it.
If you’re in the business of being a business, you’re sure to face it. Yet, how you react to a rebuff, though, is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve dealt with plenty of rejection over 10 years in business. I have heard a lot more noes than yeses, especially early on. While I was humiliated at the time, I now see that each rejection actually helped shape my success today.
Here are four tips to help you better handle rejection as an entrepreneur.
1. Don’t take it personally
Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of taking rejection personally. We all have feelings, after all. However, just because your idea was shot down or a partnership was rejected, it isn’t a reflection of you.
Don’t let rejections get to you. Instead, look at the rejection for purely what it is: Was it a bad business plan, the wrong partnership terms, or wrong timing? Rather than blame yourself, assess what the real reasons for rejection, objectively.
Many of my early rejections would have put me out of business. Thankfully, I didn’t let it get to me. I was able to overcome minor setbacks with even better outcomes.
2. Learn from rejection
Chalk it up to an overwhelming sense of pride, but entrepreneurs can often sit down in a meeting and think everyone else is wrong. While there may be some truth to that, it’s important to learn from every rejection. If your product was rejected for a particular reason, take a second look and see if you can improve upon your idea.
I’ve made many pivots thanks to rejection. As we pay attention to feedback about what people really want, we’ve been able to tailor our solutions to meet customers needs. It’s a win-win situation.
3. Use it to educate customers
Oftentimes when you face market rejection it is because you haven’t thoroughly educated your audience. Take feedback and use it as a means to educate the public or customers about your business.
For instance, we compile every rebuff and use them to educate ourselves. We create a variety of content to address common points and use it to explain to potential prospects why we’re a good partner.
4. Let it guide next steps
If you constantly hear “no” from the same crowd, it’s possible that you’re trying to sell to the wrong people. Take a second look at who has rejected you. Chances are you might be targeting the wrong audience.
When I first started my business, I thought my customers would be designers and creatives. I soon realized the people who really needed my help were business owners with a lack of resources to create an impactful brand.
Rejection is hard. When you’re running a business and an entire team is dependent on your success, it’s even more stressful. As entrepreneurs we carry a heavy load. Rejection should not discourage you, nor should it end your dreams. If you pay attention, you can actually succeed in spite of rejection.
This article has been edited.
As the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly-effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Connect with @sthimothy on Twitter.