Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

It happened again.

Yet another local business has taken to social media to lament their lack of success. The writer, for some reason, feels that it is everyone else’s fault that their business idea isn’t gaining traction. I’ve seen this behavior before and I’m always puzzled by it.

Several years ago a new local business started out very strong. They had a strong social media presence, they had talent, and they had a product that people were willing to buy. But it didn’t happen fast enough, or often enough for the owner. He took to social media to issue veiled threats to community leaders and competitors. His angst knew no boundaries. He was out of business in a few years. It was a shame because he was good at what he did. He just made everyone feel bad, so it was difficult to do business with his company.

Now, another local business is doing something similar. Their messaging seems to take aim at the public for not supporting them.

I wonder, when I see this type of messaging, if the writer understands how this type of negative communication impacts those who are reading it. We live in a free society where people choose to support, or not support, those businesses and organizations that are deserving of our time, attention and monetary support. Coercion is a poor way to lead the charge.

If your business is struggling, or if you feel that the public just doesn’t understand what you are offering, you should consider taking a good long look in the mirror. It could be that your messaging isn’t connecting with the right people at the right time. It could be that you aren’t putting enough time and effort into marketing. Or, it could be, that people simply aren’t interested in what you are offering.

Feedback is essential to running a successful enterprise. Negative feedback highlight areas that you aren’t aware of, or that need more work. It may be painful, but it’s required. Hard truths must be recognized to be profitable in business.

It’s important to realize the difference between what you want to offer as a business or organization, and what customers actually need and desire. It has been said that if you follow your passion, business will follow. But this isn’t always the case.

Before launching a new product, service or business it is necessary to determine if you have a market. Market research will help determine niches that may exist and the amount of appetite that potential customers and clients have for what you wish to provide. Take a good look at your possible competition. What makes your business idea better? Learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of others. Have other businesses tried what you are considering? What were their experiences and how will you approach things differently?

I’m often asked for advice, but I’ve noted that often when people disagree they simply discard the advice. I wonder why they ask in the first place. A wise man once told me to pay the most attention to feedback that makes me the most uncomfortable – it’s probably the closest to the truth.

I’m fond of a quote by Tony Robbins, “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” I believe this is true for businesses and organizations as well.

Listen to those around you – don’t berate them. If you hear crickets it means you aren’t connecting.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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