Part and parcel of growing up, we are always getting rejected in one way or another. Our parents, our crush, job interviews and the list goes on. Now you have ploughed in all your money, soul and time to concoct a new service or product that you thought could bring salvation to mankind. You bring it out to the prospects expecting them to be marvelled and say “take my money” but they say no. Reality hits, they are not as interested as you have imagined it to be. So where do you go on from here?


Reality check

Maybe your idea wasn’t as perfect as you thought it might be after all. It is like a mother who is lovingly attached to the baby, sometimes the process of taking an idea from birth to market results in unnecessary attachment. It then becomes difficult to receive any feedback and might result in denial. Rejections are actually the best quality checks one can have as they help you to improve weaknesses and spot the blind spots that the creator might have been oblivious to.

Asking questions

It is very tempting to brush off the detractors and move on to the next prospect to keep morale up. Instead, treat them as your in-house advisor who can tell you what is necessary to convince your next prospect. They will however not offer you what you need and you need to dig for the answers by asking the right questions. Questions such as

  • Why do you think this is not useful to you?
  • How can the product/service be improved so that it will be useful to you?
  • What features do you think is missing?
  • What features do you think is unnecessary?

It is important not to spray all the questions at the prospect but instead pepper the questions in bits throughout the entire conversation.

Business Strategy 

It is important to integrate customer feedback into the business strategy that will serve its purpose. Example will be printing 100 brochures  and go on an initial soft launch instead of printing 20,000 brochures and going on full launch. During the soft launch, you may acquire feedback which may result in changes in features of the products/services and you will need to print new brochures to encompass that improvement.

Assess the rejection

Have a timeline for yourself to allow the project to take flight. It should be ideally a couple years, enough to give time to grow and improve, but not too long such that it results in living in denial. If the idea has been constantly rejected by the market even after numerous improvement cycles over a couple of years, it is probably a good idea to take it off the shelf. However, don’t give up upon hitting the first few rejections as the market is often the best teacher.