Don’t let fear of rejection ruin your business

6 Jun 2017

business rejection

We all hate rejection, but it’s a part of everyday life, and the better you can handle it, the more successful you will be.

With 4 in 10 small companies going out of business within five years, setting up on your own might be viewed as a big risk. But would it be less of a risk if we managed to overcome our fear of rejection? Lord Sugar seems to think so. In a frequently quoted interview with Wired magazine, he compared the English business culture with the American one, saying that in England, companies “go into the market with a big fanfare and then it fails, there’s a stigma attached”, whereas in the US, “forming a company, starting something up and it completely failing, going bankrupt is an accepted thing. They tried, they didn’t conquer, they failed and they started again”.

Dropped by dragons

The TV programme Dragon’s Den is more of a rejection factory than anything else. You’d think that, after not only being rejected (quite rudely in some cases), but also suffering the humiliation of being rejected on television, watched by – at its peak – over 4 million people, the rejectees would never want to show their faces ever again.

Despite this, some of the more resilient entrepreneurs carried on regardless and refused to let failure get in the way of a good business idea. Who’d have thought, for instance, that a simple hairbrush could have catapulted its inventor to a business worth £200m. Not the Dragons! They turned down Shaun Pulfrey’s Tangle Teezer which last year had a turnover of more than £23m.

Go to any airport and you’re bound to see a child playing with a Trunki suitcase, another DD reject that had been called “worthless” by the Dragons. More than 100 awards and outlets in 90 countries around the world later, founder Rob Law clearly did not allow rejection to dampen his enthusiasm for his product.


One of the main qualities a businessperson needs in order to keep going, especially in the face of adversity, is resilience. This is a quality that salespeople in particular must have if they want to be successful in their careers – if a salesperson can’t handle rejection, they’d soon be out of a job!

Resilience is, however, a skill that can be learned. Mark Williams of sales-mind has made a career out of running training courses in resilience for salespeople. He explains it’s how you react to obstacles that will determine how successful – or not – you become. “Adversity and setbacks are a part and parcel of life. What matters most is not what these obstacles are, but how you see them, react and respond to them. Whether you have a knee-jerk reaction or a considered response to a challenge determines how successful you’ll be in overcoming adversity and maybe even thriving because of it”.

Surround yourself with positive people

Rejection is less easy to brush off when you’re on your own. If you have plenty of people around you who can offer sympathy and positive feedback, you’re much more likely to bounce back.

Co-working spaces provide a great environment for solopreneurs and small business managers to interact with people in the same situation. If you run your own business and are looking for managed office space or hot desks in the centre of Hertford, the UOE Hub could be just what you’re looking for! Contact us to arrange a visit and a free day’s trial.

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