26 Lunch and learn: How to deal with ‘helpful’ ideas, suggestions, feedback and criticism

Written by  //  April 26, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Small businesses and mothers. Everyone loves to give them advice!


All the ideas and suggestions and, feedback and criticism….phew…it can be a bit overwhelming. So here are some thoughts for dealing with it.

What it is

A way of filtering the ‘helpful’ advice.

Why it works

Ideas, suggestions, feedback and criticism is great, but let’s be honest, it’s not always relevant.

The problem is that we sometimes don’t see that the advice is irrelevant until we’ve dived down a few rabbit holes and got terribly distracted.

So to save on time and tears, here are some tips for filtering advice.

What you do

In the steps that follow I’ve been very black and white about what to do with the advice. I’ve said “ditch it” or “act on it”. Of course you don’t have to be quite that dismissive of people’s suggestions; and you should always do Step 5

Step 1: Is the advice from your Hungry Customer?

Your Hungry Customer is the person who pays you properly for the work you do. They are not just any customer, they are your most profitable customer.


If the advice is coming from your Hungry Customer then go to  Step 2. If it’s not, go to Step 3.

Step 2: Do your other Hungry Customers feel the same way?

It’s possible that your Hungry Customer is having a bad day, or is just a little quirky. So check in with a few other Hungry Customers. Do they feel the same way?


If the answer is yes, I’d be inclined to act on the advice!


If the answer is no, go to Step 5.

Step 3: Is the advice from a customer (just not a Hungry Customer)?

This advice could well be fabulous but you do need to check it out first with your Hungry Customers. This is because non-Hungry Customers often come up with ideas that distract you from doing what you do best – serving your Hungry Customer!


If the advice doesn’t fit with your Hungry Customer, ditch it.


If it does fit, act on it.

Step 4: Is the advice from a well-meaning friend or expert?

I think you need to tread carefully with advice that is offered to you by people who aren’t customers. The reason I say this is because often they don’t really understand your business.


Experts in particular can throw you a bit off track because they sound so authoritative. But just because someone is an expert in finance, marketing, technology or whatever doesn’t make him an expert in what you do.


So keep your wits about you, challenge the advice and if it doesn’t feel right, have the courage to ditch it.


If you think it’s a goodie, check it out with your Hungry Customer, and follow the rest of Step 3.

Step 5: Irrespective of where it came from, does the advice feel right to you?

You have to trust your gut. If the advice feels right – even if it comes from an unlikely source – I’d explore it. It could be a gem!



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