An entrepreneur’s guide to taking it on the chin – you’ll need it

Sylvia Pennington

The road to self-made success is rarely ever smooth. Knock-downs and knock-backs from prospective business partners, clients and investors will be part and parcel of the game for many who run their own show.

Learning not to take them personally can be a challenge – especially for entrepreneurs brimming with passion for their big idea or fledgling enterprise. They can’t help feeling hurt by the realisation that others aren’t equally excited.

So here are some tips for taking it on the chin and powering on regardless.

It’s free feedback!

Knock-backs are less painful when you regard them as market research you didn’t have to pay for, says Mel Perkins, who pushed past scores of slammed doors to secure $21 million in venture capital investment for her runaway success graphic design start-up, Canva.

“Being rejected a lot in our initial stages just meant I had to try harder and refine my strategy,” Perkins says. “Every time we were rejected or had tricky questions we’d improve our pitch decks.”

A numbers game

You won’t feel demoralised every time you hear ‘no’ if you think like a door-to-door salesperson, suggests Creel Price, Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship coach and CEO of the business accelerator Investible. Why? Because they expect 99 ‘not today, thankyou’s’ for every clinched sale.

“Sales is a numbers game where every rejection gets you closer to a Yes,” Price says.

Two’s company

Solo success can be sweet – but one’s a lonely number when you’re weathering the punches. Having a business partner who shares your belief in your venture can help you bounce back faster.

“No friend, relative or significant other can have the degree of empathy about the hills and valleys of business like a co-founder in the trenches with you,” Price says.

It might be their loss

You believe in your offering wholeheartedly – they don’t. Keep reminding yourself it may be their loss, suggests Alan Manly, founder of Group Colleges Australia and author of The Unlikely Entrepreneur.

“You’re in the entrepreneur business for yourself and it’s up to you to persuade others to take the opportunities you offer,” he says. “If you fail on occasions to convert others to your way of thinking, it may be their opportunity they’ve denied.”

If it were that easy…

Don’t resent the hardship that naysayers will put you through, welcome it, Price says.

“If there were no obstacles to success then there would be no opportunities on which to capitalise because someone would have gotten there before you,” he says.

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

If you’re stuggling for motivation there are plenty of inspirational stories to keep you going and advice on what to do when things get tough