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Dealing with everyone's suggestions
jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:23 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Since I started my e-commerce business at the end of 2009 everyone wants to give me their ideas, suggestions, improvements to products, etc on how to run the business.

Family members, friends, employees, etc..etc. Does anyone have this same issue? If so, how do you handle it?

Especially just plain out weird ideas. Today my wife was telling me how our CSR was going to talk to me about her brother working for us. The CSR's dad would pay us to have him work a few hours each week for us. Something about him going to school and now not having a job and also having ADD.
I have not had the conservation with her yet, but I already no my answer.

 

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:39 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

If so, how do you handle it?

I'm usually open to hearing different ideas from people. Sometimes business owners get so focused on their company that they have blinders on and can't see the problems that are obvious to everyone else.

That being said, I also know my business and know what has worked and what hasn't worked in the past, as well as the combined anecdotal evidence from all the good people here at Webmaster World. :)

But I also know that what worked before may not continue to work in the future and what didn't work before may work in the future under different circumstances or implementations.

Getting back to the question... If I have the time, I'll usually listen to what they have to say. But as soon as it starts to look like a time waster, I quickly point out reasons why it won't work. If they persist, I'll bring in some WW anecdotal evidence. Or make some up. :)

If it's actually a decent idea but doesn't fit in my business model, I'll say so and suggest they try to develop it on their own.

The CSR's dad would pay us to have him work a few hours each week for us. Something about him going to school and now not having a job and also having ADD.

Way too many red flags in that situation...

votrechien



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 5:50 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

We got a puppy a few months ago and I think we've heard someone give us a rehashed Cesar Milan advice every other day since lol.

Given your product line I think you're in a very similar position to me with the puppy where everybody (well at least half of the population at least) has an opinion on what you sell. I don't think you're ever going to get away from it as long as you're in your industry. People are good intentioned though and I think most people use it as a platform for conversation rather than to be a know-it-all per se.

If all else fails, remember: trust your instincts (you'll only get that if you watch the dog whisperer!).

Lexur

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 6:08 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ask them for a wrote plan about that, where they develop their idea.
Require them a detailed list of costs and benefits, in dollars! Say them you need it in black over white to profesionally evaluate the idea.
Once they recognize not to be an expert (actually it's just laziness) then you should say: "Your aim to help me is heartwarming but there is people who need help more than me. Go to an hospital, enter the surgery hall and say there: I have not idea nor plan but I want help you".
Maybe they understand it.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:59 am on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the replies. You have provided me with some good ideas that I will try next time.

RhinoFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 6:15 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Flush the Time Bandits (working on doing that myself).

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:37 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@RhinoFish LOL

I was thinking of putting up a sign that says "No Brainstorming"

Maybe it just me getting grumpier.

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:41 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was thinking of putting up a sign that says "No Brainstorming"

Or, "Informal Business Plans Reviewed- $100/hour"

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 11:09 pm on Mar 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I guess I'm lucky. Most of my friends have no clue what I do, and don't care to. I would probably be much more likely to take advice from somebody who does something similar. But even when somebody has a business, there are many ways to do something... so having a business doesn't mean that what works for you, will work for everybody. Most ideas I get from customers are crap. People try to talk you into making all this ridiculously unique stuff, which I know won't sell at all. Also, I know people have a habit of disappearing once you actually make it. Fell for that before, not going to anymore. Then again, this one guy asked me years ago to make something... I was going to anyway eventually, but I put it off for over a year, because I didn't think it would sell. It is now my best selling product. So you never know. I would always at least listen.

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 8:19 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

A useful, all-purpose reply:

"I will make a note of that thought."

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 10:54 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@dpd1
That is what happens after I release a new product. Someone will say something like, "it would be great if it was..." or "have you thought about..." or " just an idea..."

I just find it insulting, you spend months coming out with a new product and getting on the shelf and then people start "Monday morning quarterbacking"

@buckworks
Thank you, that is what I need a nice reply.

I just need to blow it off and answer with a nice reply :)

RhinoFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 2:10 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

"We already thought of that, tested it, it sucked badly. What else you got?"

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 4:18 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Actually, there's a dark side to listening to their "advice."

Let's say it turns out to be something you actually can use and end up implementing it. (Or you end up implementing something similar. Or you had already thought of that and were in the process of rolling it out.) Then 2 years down the road you get caught in a "Hey, that was my idea- give me my share of the profits" lawsuit. :(

Maybe we need to create some boiler plate document that relinquishes the "adviser" of any future claims to revenue resulting from the advice. Then tell the person you'll listen to the advice after he signs the form.

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 6:19 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@dpd1
That is what happens after I release a new product. Someone will say something like, "it would be great if it was..." or "have you thought about..." or " just an idea..."


Oh yeah... If you let them, the public will "great new product idea"... you right into the poor house. Been there, done that, won't do it ever again. More than once I had people telling me how great an idea was and that they'd buy one. So stupid me busts my butt to design and build them... Announce that it's available and... Crickets. All the people disappeared. It was like turning on the lights in a kitchen of roaches.

The lawsuit thing seems like a stretch, but it's still true... all it takes is one nut. That's why people in entertainment often just throw scripts and stuff they receive in the garbage. I saw a guy on a forum the other day, where he was furious because he sent a suggestion for a guitar design to a guitar maker... A very very basic idea that pretty much anybody could have thought of, and probably did. He was irate because they came out with it a few months later and he thought they "stole his idea". How does somebody steal an idea when you willingly gave it to them? They probably barely even looked at his email and hit delete.

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4554106 posted 9:33 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

People try to talk you into making all this ridiculously unique stuff, which I know won't sell at all. Also, I know people have a habit of disappearing once you actually make it.

"We don't carry that as a regular item, but we're happy to do special orders." (Assuming for the sake of discussion that you do handle special orders. Happiness optional.)

Answer A: "Oh, no, I didn't mean that I personally wanted some right now. I just meant, yata yata."
Answer B: "That would be great! Put me down for three gross."

Just make sure you've got all your boilerplate about nonrefundability of special orders clearly spelled out ahead of time. In fact, go add it right now even if you don't do special orders. ("I'm sorry, we can do some types of special orders but we can't supply X.")

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