Ways to deal with rejection as a start-up entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you are going to come across rejection. Hopefully not a lot, but to start with, probably more often than not. You need to learn how to deal with it and move on. Some people cope with rejection really well. They just brush it off, and learn from it. Others give up, or let the fear of further rejection hold them back. Let’s look at how you can be that first kind of person.

shutterstock_518830672Don’t be afraid

Everyone hates rejection. Sam Ovens has made $10million in his career, but had to deal with a huge fear of rejection in the beginning. So have many other business men and women. You just have to force yourself. You’ll probably find after that first rejection; it isn’t that bad.

Don’t take rejections personally

If you do this, you’re never going to get anywhere. You may have been rejected for many reasons, it’s not you. It’s not that you’re not a great business man or woman with great ideas. It might just be the wrong time or place. Or that there’s a few things you need to work on. There’s probably going to be more no’s than yes’s. You can’t afford to get upset about them. Don’t lose confidence. Remember, everyone goes through this, your strength is in your ability to carry on.

Ask why

Sometimes, you’ll get given feedback. Reasons why you didn’t get a client to sign up, or why you got turned down for finance. Other times you won’t. In these cases, don’t be afraid to ask. Even if it’s a few days later, once you’ve had a think, send a polite and professional email, simply asking for some feedback. Make it clear you’ve accepted their decision, you’d just like to know where you can improve. Be sure to thank them for their time and their honesty.

Can you turn that no into a yes?

Some people might be impressed that you value their option enough to ask for more details. During these conversations, you might find them starting to change their minds, or expressing an interest once you’ve agreed with their reasons and suggested changes. Don’t just agree with something to get a deal, this is your business, don’t blindly change your ways to convince someone. If it’s genuinely something you feel you can work with, or could improve what you do, go with it. Don’t be pushy, just communicate and be professional. Even if it doesn’t help you now, they may remember you for a future product. A no, isn’t necessarily a no forever.


If you can’t make it a yes, let go. Listen to the feedback you get. There will no doubt be some positives, take heart from these and use them as points to build on. Don’t be tempted to bury your head in the sand and ignore the negatives. They are, if anything, more important and helpful in building a successful business. Make a new business plan. What changes do you need to make? If you don’t agree, leave it for now, but if you keep getting rejected for the same issues, please don’t continue to ignore the problem.

Sometimes you’re just not the right person or business to suit, there’s nothing you can do about this, so don’t dwell on it. Just move on.

If there are changes to make, don’t rush them, consider all your options before rushing into any decisions, ask advice and gauge options. Feedback is very important for a new start-up. This is all part of the process. Use the time not to worry or be upset, but to move forward and become a stronger and more knowledgeable entrepreneur. Never forget, even those businesses you admire, and aspire to, have faced rejections, but are remembered for their successes. Yours will come.