3 ways founders can turn feedback into action

People say they love feedback, but the truth is, most times we don’t know what to do with it. Especially when that feedback is constant, plentiful and contradictory. That’s the reality most startup founders face: They’re routinely bombarded with feedback from investors, customers, peers, mentors, family, friends and sometimes even random people on the internet.

The right feedback is a gift that can bring enormous benefits, but a deluge of opinions can leave you overwhelmed, vulnerable and stuck in a loop. Without a strategy, you risk either being swayed by every piece of advice or stubbornly digging in your heels and ignoring the best of it entirely.

For all of its challenges, managing feedback is a crucial part of building a successful business. The good news is that it isn’t a skill — it’s a muscle, and one you can build over time. Here are three ways to get started.

Understand your goals

After our first meeting together, a founder asked me if I had any “immediately actionable” feedback for her company. She didn’t want to waste my time (or hers) with broad or deep input on her business — she just wanted an investor’s take on items she could immediately address.

In other words, this founder understood her goals.