Feedback on Your Business Idea

5 Tips for Evaluating Feedback on a Business Idea

When you’re trying to build a new business, everyone around you seems to have all the answers to your most perplexing challenges. You’ll meet with advisors, mentors, friends, family and potential investors who will push you to think about your idea differently. How do you deal with the influx of all this "great advice"?

Here are 5 Points to consider when getting advice:

  1. Does the person giving advice have insight into the industry or are they just giving you a first reaction with no real market knowledge? Insight from an industry expert is priceless - opinions from someone who was half-listening to you pitch your idea with no industry context is largely trash.

2.  Is this individual giving you feedback likely within your target market?  Often, others will give feedback as though they were the customer when the product or service was never intended for them.  If you're not sure, ask the individual offering the feedback if their suggests are from the viewpoint of a customer or as an investor.

3.  Ask the individual giving feedback for an alternative or recommendations to fix or improve what they see as a deficit.  The best feedback is normally followed by thoughtful insight of an alternative approach you might consider.  If the individual can only offer criticism with no viable alternative or option - their opinion likely worth what you paid for it.

4.  Listen intently to what you're hearing - never interrupt to defend your idea. What you're most likely to learn from a feedback session is how well you are (or are not) communicating your idea.  Often, the message we think we are communicating is quite different that what the listener is hearing.

5.  Consider the source - has this individual ever built a business? Would you want to be "like" him or her? Do you wish to model after their success? If the answer is no, then be polite and simply consider their point of view without feeling pressure to take it.

It's is very important to get as much feedback as you can on your buisness idea.  The more views you hear, the more the "truth" will begin to cluster in similar responses and views.  Get busy talking to industry leaders, potential customers, likely investors and fellow startups.  But also learn how to filter all the feedback so that you don't drive yourself crazy.  You'll never please all the people all the time.  A great business leader has a healthy mix of confidence and humility:  Confidence in their idea and their ability to execute for the customer - but enough Humility to listen to feedback, filter the high-value insights, and make the appropriate adjustments to the business model.