Last week I was talking to an entrepreneur and he said something that’s stuck in my mind ever since: feedback is a gift. As entrepreneurs, we have happy ears where we’re continually seeking validation and clues as to the best direction to head. Almost always, the best ideas come straight from customers in the form of feedback. Only, it’s up to the entrepreneur to define the culture and ensure that feedback is sought out and treated as a gift.
Cultures that treat feedback as a gift are self-reinforcing in that they regularly ask customers for input and adapt the business based on that feedback. The more feedback, the more tweaks and optimizations to the company. Sometimes the feedback might get overwhelming, but it’s always better to have too much rather than not enough.
Cultures that don’t treat feedback as a gift are often a monopoly or on the decline. Customers that don’t feel their feedback is heard and appreciated will seek out new providers and vendors. Startups that don’t embrace and encourage feedback aren’t able to adapt and innovate as fast as ones that do.
The next time you’re on the receiving side of feedback, ask the question: does this feel like it’s a gift? Do I want this? What happens to this? Feedback is incredibly powerful and should be encouraged.
Every entrepreneur should work to make feedback a gift in their startup.