Friday, 16 November 2007

Negative people: Good or bad for business?

I've been thinking about this recently. Thankfully, I haven't seen too much of it, but I have noticed that there are people who will be negative at any cost. Especially when it comes to starting a business. "Oh, you're never going to succeed" or "Oh, there is too much competition".

In general though, I never let any of these people get away with it. I usually ask: "So why do you think that this is true?" Most of the time, the answer is weak, something like: "Oh, well I tried running my own business and it didn't work." Obviously, you can see why that is not a strong argument. But sometimes, just sometimes, you get a nugget of wisdom from these Negative Nellies that can give you new insight into your business or market: "Oh, I tried running my own business and it didn't work because I was too focused on product development and not marketing." The start of an enlightening conversation. I think all those Negative Nellies are worth their weight in gold if you can use them the right way.

On a similar topic, I came across a very interesting quote by the US President Theodore Roosevelt* here:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Very inspirational.

* Yes, I know he had some very interesting views but this view was not at all uncommon at the time. It is only less blatant now!

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