Question: What's your best tip for dealing with unsolicited advice about your startup from family, friends, or anyone else?
Take It in Stride
"In my experience, most unsolicited advice comes from people who genuinely care. They want what's best for you, and they think their cautionary tales (even when you know the advice to be misguided) can help you avoid missteps. Whenever possible, just graciously say "thank you" and move on. This lets those who care feel like they are participating in your success and helping you on your journey."
Be Polite and Don't Argue
"When you own your own company you'll get a lot of advice from people who have no experience! It's easy to get defensive and get into a long battle about why you're right and they're wrong. Instead, just politely steer the conversation to a new topic. There's no reason to waste your time arguing and potentially damage the relationship with a friend. "
Listen, Digest and Let It Go
"It's important to be a gracious listener. Take in what they have to say because it could be valuable. Assess whether or not it fits with your values and goals. If not, let it go. If it does, take it and act. Don't allow all advice to persuade you, but listen and make that determination afterwards. "
Remember That All Advice Is Useful
"All advice is useful. I especially value suggestions from those who think differently than I do. Remember that you don't have all the answers. Whether or not you choose to act on the advice that's extended to you, my philosophy is that any thoughtful commentary is interesting to consider. "
Listen to All of It, Take None of It
"Everyone (including ourselves) colors their advice with their own biases and experiences. Most people mean well. Listen to them. Appreciate their time. Don't take their advice. "
Sift, Extract and Refocus
"Learn the art of sifting and extracting. Sift through the terrible advice, extract the pearls of wisdom that are hidden among the junk and then refocus on solving your customer's problems. You are going to get lots of advice along the way, some of it great, some of it bad; but learning to listen and extract the wisdom -- even from enemies -- is a powerful skill."
Listen and Thank Them
"Remember that family and friends only give you advice because they care and want to help you. My tactic is to simply listen to the advice that others have to offer and thank them for it. You're not obligated to implement it and chances are that your friends and family don't expect you to, but they do want to be heard and appreciated."
Channel It Into an Opportunity
"I love getting unsolicited advice from family, friends, or anyone. I don't always like what they say, but it usually means they can become a customer, or it gives me the chance to tell them to put money where their mouth is. I listen, I smile, I say thank you. It will open up opportunities with them down the road. "
Identify the Deeper Issue
"I've found that when one stranger offers a piece of feedback, it may or may not be anything worth remembering. But if I've heard five people tell me the same thing, regardless of their experience level or outside knowledge, it's probably hinting at some opportunity or deeper issue that's worth understanding. I've found that when one stranger offers a piece of feedback, it may or may not be worth listening to."
Smile and Nod
"I like that people feel they can share their opinions and advice with me. There are, of course, times that it's not relevant. For those moments, I've adopted the smile graciously and nod approach. Arguing over unsolicited advice is not helpful and can seem disrespectful, so why not just smile and nod?"