Take as much feedback as you can get, especially early on. What you hear and where it leads you can be invaluable.
Don’t get tunnel vision.
Starting a business is challenging, time-consuming and frustrating but also very rewarding. Much of the time spent developing a new business prior to launch is centered around the founder’s idealistic view of the company. At first, this is great because it fosters the passion and motivation needed to move forward, but without objective feedback, it ultimately leads to tunnel-vision as we get cemented into what we think is the perfect idea, perfect product or perfect service.
And on paper, it might be – but once you get out in front of customers, you will be questioned, invalidated and written off. It’s important not to confine yourself to your version of your idea, which creates a zero-sum, take-it-or-leave-it proposition for your prospective clients. If you’re not open-minded or flexible about your new business model (especially at first), it will prevent you from really engaging with your potential customers and you’re going to hear the word “no” a lot more frequently. When I launched The Freelance Firm, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it, in person, on social media, through email campaigns, etc. However, I soon realized that telling potential customers that they need a product or service is rarely effective, instead, the key is to LISTEN! Listen to your current clients, listen to your colleagues, listen to anyone who is willing to give you feedback on your business.
Asking for feedback is just as valuable as receiving it.
Not all of the feedback you receive will be useful (or constructive), but it will give you great insight as to how other people (i.e., the marketplace) will view your business, whether they’re potential customers or not. This type of objective feedback is critical because it forces you to view your concept from an entirely different perspective and for your business to truly succeed, you must be able to see it from all angles. More importantly, the simple act of listening can lead to amazing results. Reflecting upon comments and critiques will spur new ideas and take you down paths you might have never considered. Plus, when you ask people for feedback, it shows them that you value their opinion and who doesn’t want to feel valued? This will help you develop more meaningful relationships with people who can truly help you realize your vision. It will also show people that you are serious about addressing the true needs of your customers, which will make them want to support you even more.
As far as entrepreneurial experience goes, I have much to learn. But the more I learn, the more I want to keep learning. My goal for The Freelance Firm is to provide our attorney-clients with, not only the best possible service, but also the best possible experience. The only way to achieve that is by asking for, listening to, and using that feedback to evolve, adapt, modify, revise and improve, because that’s the only way to create the business that my clients (and yours!) truly need.
With that said, if you’ve made it this far then I’d love your feedback, too. If you’re an attorney or you work in the legal field, please take a moment to respond to our brief survey, found here. Your input is greatly appreciated!