What an exciting day it must have been when you finally turned on your ‘OPEN’ sign. All the dreaming, planning, and working and then the moment you finally opened your doors! And of course, being open for business means that you will welcome pretty much anyone who wants to come in and look around.
More important than your business being open is you being open to what your business brings. After all, I assume your business has attracted more than business. You have likely attracted people and some are probably nicer than others. While many of the human types are pleasant enough, if you are like most business owners you also have to deal with negative feedback, customer complaints, disgruntled employees, and angry competitors.
Okay then, back to being open to what your business brings. Openness to what you hear can be a large factor in whether and to what extent you succeed. If you are only open to hearing the good things people have to say you risk missing a very large part of the picture. If you are closed off to hearing criticism about you, your business, or the way you run it you will probably be attracting only the people who like what you are currently doing. This might work for you for a while but it can cut out a huge demographic. And know this: Listening to what people have to say, even if it is unpleasant, does not mean it’s true, but refusal to listen to the complaints can seal the deal on how broadly your business can grow.
The bottom line is that there is value in the good and the bad. Yes, listening to the good stuff and hanging with the people who sing your praises feels good. It’s great to spend the day basking in the warm glow of your own brilliance as reflected back to you by the happy crowd. On-the-other-hand, the Negative Nellies and Captain Bringdowns can ruin your day. Even if it was a really good day, hearing someone bash your business can leave you wishing you were still washing dishes in the Army. But sometimes there is a golden nugget in the crap the complainers dish out. In fact, very often there is at least a shiny penny or two in there. Your openness – your flexibility, curiosity, and creativity will determine whether you are brave enough to scoop up whatever value you can find in that steaming pile of, well, you know.
To re-cap, people typically learn more from complaints than from all the praise in the world. Praisers will only tell you that they love what you are already doing, whereas gripers will point out things you are missing. The only way you can improve is if you are open to what you hear, mostly from the dark side (oh yeah, I went there). I don’t have to encourage you to listen to the good stuff – you’ll hear that no matter what. The bad stuff, though, the bad stuff often falls on a deaf ear and that’s where the gold is.
In closing I have one question for you: Your business is open, are you?
Ready to talk? Drop me a line and let’s make a point of it.