A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

What to Do When Critics Attack

When critics attack.
Let’s hope you never get this guy as your
customer. But when you do, here’s what to do.
Erica’s note: I’m at BlogWorld Expo for the next few days. I figured this would be a great opportunity to introduce you to a new blogger who is an amazing writer. His name is Alex Wu and he recently quit his job as an economist to become a professional psychic intuitive and blogger at IntuitiveWu.com. Here is his guest post:

As you become increasingly successful in your business, you will likely become a target of criticism and attack. People you don’t even know may leave nasty comments on your blog, send you highly critical emails, or even post article-length personal attacks directed at you on their blogs.

You’ve worked hard building your success from the ground up. After all that you’ve been through, being the target of attacks and criticism feels like a slap in the face.

Why are You Being Attacked?

Your success could be making other people feel insecure. It challenges their beliefs about money and financial abundance, and forces them to confront their fears and dissatisfaction with their own personal situations.

Some people will accept that they have unfulfilled potential and rise to the challenge of creating their own success. They may become your followers and potential friends. Other people turn around and run the other way, preferring to stay in denial and keep their heads buried in the sand. But a third group will go on the offensive, and try to pick apart your success in an attempt to discredit you and your work. A small handful may publicly criticize or attack you.

Unfortunately, this small handful, which may be only one or two individuals, is a loud, dedicated bunch. Their goal is be to intimidate you, cause you and your business to fail, or otherwise make your life miserable. And worse, the more time and attention you give them, the more you egg them on to cause you even more grief. What should you do when all you want is to be left alone and to keep building your business in peace and harmony?

If you’ve been doing honest, legitimate work this whole time and you haven’t been misrepresenting yourself or trying to rip anyone off, the battle is going to be much easier because you have solid ground to stand on.

Don’t Panic!

When you first become aware of an attack against you, you may feel threatened, and that if you don’t take immediate action, your whole business is in jeopardy. But the only thing in jeopardy at this moment is your ego. Stay calm. The world isn’t over yet. In many cases, you don’t need to take any action at all.

Commit to your continued success in your business. Recognize the attacks for what they are – the work of people who have nothing better to do than to carry out a vendetta against you. It comes with the territory of being a successful businessperson. Everyone who’s accomplished anything big or important has had their share of outspoken critics. Your best revenge is continued and growing success.

Don’t fan the flames. Attacks will escalate in proportion to how much energy and attention you give them. I will reply once to a critic – at most. Generally, it’s not possible to convince someone who’s got an agenda against you, and trying to do so is a waste of your valuable time. If you’ve been exchanging long strings of emails or blog comments with a critic who becomes nastier with every exchange, it’s time to back off. You’re rewarding their efforts and demonstrating that they’re important enough to make you concerned.

Reduce access points for your attackers. Temporarily moderate your blog comments, blacklist your attackers’ IP addresses, and stop opening their emails. You’re not obligated to play their game on their terms.

Be willing to stand your ground. The vast majority of your attackers, no matter how loud or nasty they are, have a lot more bark than bite. They may utter threats, but it’s extremely rare that they follow through (although you should report threats against your physical safety to the authorities). In cases where attackers win, it’s usually by intimidating their victims to the point that they simply give in.

Establish your reputation with facts. Depending on the nature of the attacks, and how successful your attackers are in getting attention, it may be necessary for you to set the record straight publicly. Publish hard evidence supporting your legitimacy. Address their criticisms with evidence and facts that show the opposite. Point to your positive contributions, and demonstrate how you conduct business in a conscientious and responsible manner. Stay upbeat, and don’t directly address or name your attackers, as that will draw more attention to them. Your goal is to reassure your followers and reaffirm that you believe in the work that you do.

Your customers and followers believe in you. They’re on your side for a reason – you’ve built goodwill and rapport with them through your work. They’re not likely to be swayed by someone shouting baseless criticism against you. By running a clean, legitimate business and maintaining good relationships with your followers, you’re in good shape.

Remember, your attackers are relying on you to self-destruct. They generally don’t have the power to take down your website or shut down your physical place of business. Nor are they likely to convince your hundreds or thousands of customers and followers to leave you. They’re hoping you’ll concede defeat by intimidating and discouraging you. Now wouldn’t that be a case of a flea taking down an elephant by causing it to trip?

What Should You Do When Faced with Critics?

One of the best things to do is to simply shrug and move on. You win by surviving and continuing to shine. You lose when others convince you to put out your own light out.

Think about your many customers and followers who rely not only on your products or services, but who are also inspired by your advice and your example. The world needs more people who buck the trend of the ordinary and achieve fantastic success running businesses they love.

It’s not easy being the target of attacks. But you, your customers and your business are worth fighting for.

Alex Wu helps people re-discover their unique talents and gifts so they can enjoy a more fulfilling career, earn more money, and build loving, supportive relationships. Definitely check out and subscribe to his blog at www.IntuitiveWu.com.

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