Coworking Agreement

How do you deal with negative press as a business owner?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Don’t Blow It Off

“Take the time to really think about what might have caused the person to write the article/post in the first place. The best thing to do is acknowledge the issue and explain what you have done to help rectify the situation or keep it from happening again. This will build trust with future customers and might win back customers you have lost. Remember, no business is perfect.”

Andy Kohm, Vendop

2. Leverage the Mistake

“Unless you have a made a huge error, you can still really win here. I remember dining recently at this fancy restaurant (and leaving a negative review) and they blew me away with their response: a full comp on my CC, a credit for a future meal, and a full explanation of how they were going to turn things around. I like them more now than if the experience had been good from the get-go.”

Adam Steele, The Magistrate

3. Be Active on Social Media

“The best way to deal with negative press is to be very open about what you’re doing, and face the criticism head-on. Reply to every comment on Facebook and Twitter, and do so publicly so that your entire audience understands your point. Follow up on the changes you promise to make.”

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Merch

4. Become Friends With Your Detractors

“When I spot a negative piece, I always respond civilly in the comments and sometimes email the writer directly. Instead of getting angry or defensive, I seek more information on the contrary point of view and ask for suggestions for how I can improve my work. Usually, the detractor is so impressed with the response that we are able to launch a new relationship based on mutual respect and trust.”

Alexandra LevitInspiration at Work

5. Hire a Reputation Management Company

“Negative press is a complicated and tricky issue. You should hire a reputation management agency to tackle it professionally. If you do not have expertise, then don’t try to do it yourself, as you may make it messy. Professionals can use the time-tested and innovative techniques to get rid of or overcome thenegative press. It can be a bit expensive, but the right thing to do.”

Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

6. Stay Calm

“Remember the news cycle is very short; attention spans don’t last very long. So, depending on how bad the press is, remember it’s going to blow over shortly. It is hard as a founder to remember this, but it works if you think about politicians, for example, taking bad press. They almost always bounce back soon enough. Politicians have all mastered news media — look for guidance there.”

Robby Hill, HillSouth

7. Seek Advice and Take Steps to Turn the Tide

“When dealing with negative press, two things have proven invaluable. The first is to seek the advice of mentors or business owners who’ve been through a similar experience. Learn from their scars. The second is to ask a key question: “What is the best thing I can do to turn the tide right now?” Positive news can drown negative news over time.”

Nitin Chhoda, In Touch EMR

8. Reflect Upon The Cause and Then Move On

“It’s important to look into why the press was released, where you may have been at fault, and how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. You don’t, however, want to let it get under your skin and put you in a downward spiral. That’s not good for you or your business. Don’t dwell on it, and move forward.”

Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind

9. Be Civil and Don’t Debate

“You may be tempted to be defensive, but that almost never helps. If your company has actually done something wrong, apologize and then stop talking. If not, respond — on social media or your blog — with your account of the issue. Don’t get personal, remain positive, stick to the facts, and don’t fall into the trap of debating — it’s easy to say the wrong thing and open yourself to more criticism.”

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

10. Use Honesty and Humor

“There’s no point in avoiding bad press because it will never cease to come about. My decision is always to face it head on and explain what went wrong. I usually explain this with humor, depending on the situation. If I can get through to my detractors and help them understand what transpired, then they’ll see the other side of the coin and how we’ll be better next time.”

Cody McLain, SupportNinja

11. Accept It and Harness the Power of Your Employees

“Negative press from large establishments can be disruptive, especially when you feel that it is out of your control. However, the voice of a negativeperspective does not need to define your business. It is your employees that define your business. By investing in them, and offering perks and benefits, you create a constant source of positive PR.”

Marvin AmbergCaseable

12. If It’s Big, Address It From the Top

“As the face of your company, sometimes you need to step up and defend the integrity of it and promise to do things better. Dominoes CEO did a good job at this by apologizing and explaining to their customers how they were going to make things better. First, he addresses the issue, explains what they’ve done to correct it, and then offers insight into how they will make positive changes going forward.”

Andy Karuza, brandbuddee

13. No Press Is Bad Press

“We’ve all heard that “No press is bad press.” Understand that only so many people are going to like you, no matter what you do. Successful people make a name for themselves by standing for something. Whether your stance is controversial or not, you will always have naysayers. Take criticism with a grain of salt and take solace in the fact that you are not alone.”

Andrew KucheriavyIntechnic

14. Don’t Ignore It

“Respond to it. Of course, it depends on the nature of the negative press, but the only thing worse than negative press is negative press with no response. Use it as an opportunity to have a voice in the conversation and set the record straight. If your business screwed up, that’s okay — own it. Everyone loves transparent and humble businesses.”

Dusty Wunderlich, Bristlecone Holdings