How To

How to Deal with Rejection in Business

As an optimistic person, I want to assume you’ve been an avid reader of my posts so far. So I need not mention that business is basically like Nairobi weather: sometimes warm and pleasant and other times a switch is flipped and we have to endure the extremes that are all too unnerving.

One particular low moment is rejection. It could be from a client, partner or even a potential investors. It will always sting and scrub off some self-esteem or confidence in the business.

Personally, I had applied for the TEF program which was announced on Friday. It was discouraging not getting in and it made me question a lot of things. But instead of wallowing, it inspired me to write this piece for entrepreneurs who may have had their first bitter taste. Let’s get right into it:

1. Be relentless

Sometimes your pitch may be rejected because either it was weak or lacked the necessary research. Be bolder, don’t stop at the no. Persist! We’ve seen this image so many times but it’s the perfect summary of this first point.

Don't Give Up Mining Gold

2. Re-evaluate

If your pitch has been shot down several times, it would be wise to stop and revise your strategy all together. I mean doing the same thing over and over again is indeed madness. In the case of a potential investor, be meticulous when it comes to data and metrics application. Let’s say you’re in e-commerce for example, you need to identify on a stable revenue model that can survive in instances of low traffic to your website. Think over and beyond if not around the entire concept.

3. Listen

This point addresses specifically to rejection from clients. It can happen pre or post order. The latter can be very frustrating when you have invested money in a product or service provision only for the client to change their mind or completely dismiss the final product.
First and foremost take a deep breath, and then ask them for feedback. Listen and in no way contradict or oppose. Just listen, ask directional and objective questions. Ask “What can we do to improve the product/service?” in lieu de “I did this with your budget, why are you changing your mind?”

4. Get a second opinion

Many people can reject you, your business or your idea just to bring you down. They may further damage your outlook, they may critique some details that you took pride in. When in doubt ask for a second opinion… and not just any opinion but an informed one. Could be a mentor or long term client better still and employee or partner. This is just a reminder that you can what to filter out and what to absorb from the experience.

5. Keep going

All in all, you need to keep going. Rejection is not a measure of your worth. A while back I wrote how failure is healthy and you should welcome it. Because with every no, the more you realize it’s never the end of the road. A door closing or missing the bus of opportunity doesn’t shut you out. It just prepares you for the subsequent ones.

Conclusively, I do hope this jump starts your week, to step out, pitch and keep doing what you love and are passionate about. Feel free to reach me via or via Twitter. Cheers!


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