Praise makes you feel good but critique makes you better

Praise makes you feel good but critique makes you better

How do you know if your business offering is really good enough?

One of the worst situations I have to deal with when working with businesses is that of visiting a client who truly believes their product or service is far superior to the reality.

This is an incredibly difficult situation to deal with as I would never want to crush someone’s dream and self confidence, but at the same time it would not be fair of me to continue to lead them into a world of self delusion.

So how can you be sure your own product or service is really good enough?

First and foremost, if you are already trading, your sales and repeat business along with client testimonials should give you an indication of how good you are.

If you are starting up though, this will be more difficult to determine.

Market research is critical.  And please oh please, do not rely on friends and family when undertaking any research.  In my experience, friends and family will tell you want to hear for fear of hurting you and will rarely give you an unbiased opinion.

You need to do some test marketing and get feedback from real customers, and making sure these customers are from your future target market base.  There is no point at all in asking a group of teenagers to try out a product aimed at the over 50’s market.

When asking for honest feedback, you need to be quite thick skinned as it may feel like a personal attack if any criticism is forthcoming.  However, I truly believe far more can be learned from critical feedback, or critique, rather than purely positive feedback.  Yes, praise is needed and we should celebrate our successes but if we do not hear what is wrong with our product or service, then how can we ever improve and stay ahead of the competition.

As the saying goes:

Praise makes you feel good but critique makes you better

If you do not feel strong enough to take the hit at this early stage, then get someone else to gain the feedback for you and create an overall report.  This can be someone you know who is wholly unbiased (once again not friends and family please) or you can engage with a professional company to do this for you (at a charge of course).

It is far better to get honest feedback in the early days than to find out later down the line why repeat sales are not forthcoming and perhaps a poor reputation has already been gained.

It can be quite a painful process to go through, and yes, I have been through it myself, but it can also be one of the most worthwhile.

And remember, many of the best products out there came from hundreds of knock backs and years of rejection so you are not alone.  Just think of:

  • James Dyson (Dyson vacuums)
  • Colonel Sanders (Kentucky fried chicken) and
  • Thomas Eddison (the lightbulb)

All the above went through countless rejections and criticisms but who all did not give up and used any criticism in a constrictive manner to help them improve their products and become market leaders.

What’s the best critique you have had for your business and how did it help you?  Leave your comments below.