Differentiate between External and Internal Issues

Problem-solving is a regular part of running a home business. Most of us find ourselves constantly having to put out fires and deal with issues that come up. It helps to be able to determine which issues are coming from external sources and which ones are developing on an internal level. Which are coming from outside your business and which are problems that you are generating yourself from within?

What would be the difference between an internal and an external problem? An internal problem would be something like inadequate bookkeeping software or a time management crunch on your side. If your family is demanding so much of your time and energy that you cannot get to your work, then you have an internal problem to deal with. If you have a customer who is demanding more of your time than you are able to give, or a vendor who has ceased supplying an element that you need for your business—those are external problems.

As business owners, we are still called upon to fix these problems (regardless of whether they are internal issues or external ones) but I find that the internal problems are often easier for me to fix—at least, I feel as though I have more immediate control over those internal issues and that they fall within my jurisdiction. Trying to change relations with a client or vendor, on the other hand, can take more time and creativity. Knowing how much impact we have over an issue or problem can help us to figure out what we need to do; how much time we can allocate and whether we need to get outside help or not. It can also help us see where the responsibilities lie in terms of who should be doing what to make improvements.

See Also: Problem-Solving: Resolving Together

The Letter of Complaint