If you own a business, you have to deal with the positives and the negatives.

While most of your clients will love what you do, there will be the occasional client that hates everything, and you just can’t please, no matter what. Likewise you’ll get a ton of positive energy and great feedback online and on your social sites. Yet occasionally the negative will pop in there. What do you do? How do you handle the negatives?

1. Change your mindset. The minute you listen to or read a negative comment, you start to feel rattled, and quickly grow from upset to angry. How could this person feel this way? Ultimately it’s a reflection on you, and in many cases it just doesn’t sit well. Take a step back and breathe. Calm yourself down before you act or speak, and look at it through different eyes. Could what they are saying in any way be true? Then approach it in a positive way, and look for a way to re-explain yourself or provide new information.

2. Think first, act second. The easiest way to get into trouble online is to react immediately. We’ve all seen the responses to a negative comment on Facebook or Twitter escalate to where its being retweeted tens of thousands of times. The bantering goes back and forth until it literally goes viral, hurting the business owner much more than if he would have left the original comment alone. The problem stems from quick reaction. Take a step back and count to 10. Go out to lunch. Take a walk around the park. Calm down and think about the negativity. Only after you’ve had time away should you consider responding. And even then, think twice. – See Social Media – Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy?

3. Ignore. While ignoring a situation won’t make it go away, it sometimes is the best response. At some point you’ll find a person that loves bantering. They poke and push to see what it takes to get a response from you. They are looking for your breaking point. The key to this type of person is they are looking for the fight. They’ll do anything to invoke a response. But if they don’t get one, they’ll move on. When you discover this type of person, block them from commenting if possible, don’t accept their phone calls, ignore what they are saying, and watch to see if they will go away. Yes, in a few cases they will keep pushing until you have to take more severe action. But in the majority of cases they will simply look for someone else that will take the bait.

4. Delete. If you run a blog, you know how upsetting those occasional comments can be. I love disagreement, and love when people post their own ideas on a topic. But disagreement is completely different from rudeness. If someone adds their own opinion, even if its different than yours, its fun to take the conversation down different paths. But if all a comment does is slam you, with nothing constructive to add, delete. Then don’t think twice about it.

5. Accept it. There are more than 6 billion people on earth. There is always going to be a few that you have absolutely nothing in common with, and would disagree on just about every topic covered. Accept it. You don’t see eye to eye. Never will. So find the audience that loves what you do and focus your energy on them.

6. Move on. Don’t dwell on the negative. It’s easy to do – how can you not focus on something that hits right at your heart? But the more time you spend dwelling on the negative means you aren’t focusing on what will truly help you – the positive. The more a negative touches you, the more you should back away, take some time off, and concentrate on how you can turn it back into a positive.

7. Refocus. Always look for the origination of the problem. Why did the client not like your work? How did they find you? If you continually have problems from one source, it may be the source. Maybe your style doesn’t fit within the core beliefs of that group. Maybe its time to back away from that source, and look for other ways of bringing in clients. The same applies online. Maybe you are writing posts that don’t fit in with the beliefs of your readers. Does that bother you? Or do you feel strongly about what you are writing, and are just as happy alienating some of your current readers in order to move into a new direction?

Business is always about moving forward, testing, and refocusing. As we change and grow, we discover things we love and things we hate. Just because you love something today doesn’t mean it won’t lose its luster a few months from now. That’s okay. Stay true to your own purpose, and find people that align with your thinking. You’ll love the results.

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