Receiving and processing negative feedback is not easy. It could be as simple as someone expressing their opinion or a business plan that does not generate revenue.

This weekend I learnt about my friend’s brother who had committed suicide. He was an entrepreneur, like many of us, and unfortunately, his plans had not turned out as he had envisioned.

I wonder if anyone’s business plan is as linear as they expected!

It wasn’t in my case, it was FAR FROM IT, and from what I read most people refer to the journey being like a rollercoaster ride.

  • The climb is arduous and slow
  • When you reach any peak, it seems miniscule in time.
  • And the drop is frighteningly fast.

Turning Negative Feedback into a Positive Advantage is possible. It just takes practice and mindset.

I have been on this ride for the past 15 or is it 25 years, I have lost count. Nothing really ever turned out as planned. There was progress and many setbacks. Let me say it again, there were many many many many setbacks, problems, challenges, issues, failures, legal battles, and so on, but, yes I use the word but, the sum of it all was positive.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of sleepless nights I had, I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer the stomach pains I suffered for the many unjust legal battles I had. From firing employees to suing providers who had failed to give us the right service and fighting unpaid invoices.

However, as bitter as they were, regardless of the amount of money I lost in the process, the total outcome has been positive or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I did not cash out with the multi-million sales that I had anticipated. In fact, I cashed out with a lot less. It was a mere mini exit and it was a positive overall figure.

So if I count the sum of my failures, problems, and setbacks put a value to them, and then deduct them from the the total sales and left over, it was a positive number and outcome.

So is this all that counts?


There are two things I would like you to consider:

A) The immediate way to tackle negative feedback. When you receive a negative signal (from life) or feedback (from a person). It is often in terms of a blow, a setback, or a punch. No one wants to be told that they were wrong, that they did a bad job, or that what they offer is useless.

In this situation, we feel that the hammer lands sideways on us and simply crushes us. It achieves little other than demotivating us. On occasions it could be feedback from clients telling you that your product is of no use to them, it is too expensive, or a provider not seeing the potential for a collaboration with you, or a business angel telling you to change this, that, and more.

Let me give you a clear example. Several months ago I was on to a few good contracts and deals. The client was 100% convinced, we shook hands as I left the meeting and they asked for the contract. I sent the agreement and then I heard nothing back. Finally, after a few weeks of silence, they turned around and said that they had decided against it.

It felt like a punch, a blow. I had bills to pay and I was counting on that contract as income. It was a negative feedback from life and client.

The good thing was that I had learnt how to deal with it. Emotionally and from a business perspective. I reached out to the client again and asked them why the sudden change of mind.

They came back with a clear answer. After reconsidering, they thought it was expensive and not worth the price. I asked if they could come up with similar solutions at this price and also I asked what they would be willing to pay for the service.

Once again, they did not respond immediately but by now I had managed to reopen the door. I went back and offered them a trial and suggested that I would be happy to match the price of any competitor.

When you are faced with these negative feedback situations, think of them as a hammer that has landed sideways. It has achieved nothing and it feels as if you have been crushed.

In order to turn them into a positive situation, ask for further feedback until you can nail the issue. Once you nail the issue, it is like a hammer that has achieved its goal.

B) A future pay cheque. Sometimes negative feedbacks seem to have no immediate lesson or use. It feels like that at least. When you lose a client and you fail to get them back. When your product does not sell and you do everything you can to no avail.

It is inevitable. I have gone through countless issues like this where I could not interpret the feedback in order to apply it in a manner that would give me positive results. I am sure there would have been plenty of possibilities but what I am saying is that at that given point I failed to find the angle to apply the change.

However, I can tell you one thing, those countless errors, those countless headaches and problems and setbacks, are exactly what count towards my experience in helping other Startups.

Today I use those negative feedbacks and turn them into knowledge and I Nail situations like a hammer hitting the nail on the head and pushing it in, in one go.

So my only message is, don’t let negative feedback discourage you. It is just an indicator, a signal and sometimes you will come to use it in the future and your reward will be much higher than the initial loss or lesson.