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Why leaders shouldn’t blame external factors for non-performance

Managing the challenges associated with running a successful business requires leaders to consider both internal and external factors that could affect the organisation. However, when a business is struggling, it’s very rarely solely as a result of external factors.

It can be tempting to blame external factors for non-performance or use them as an excuse to avoid embarking on the activities that will lead to growth and increased value.

However, according to entrepreneur and CEO Andrew Laurie, it’s essential for business owners to focus on how they run their business and not let external factors be their excuse.

Andrew Laurie said, “In most cases, business owners feel that they’re facing a tough environment when the truth is that they’re simply struggling to run a business.

“Rather than be concerned with external factors, these business owners should seek education and, if necessary, assistance with putting the right business foundations in place. When this happens, most business owners find that they can deal with relevant external factors effectively.”

Business owners often start their business in response to an external impetus. For example, if an experienced person loses their job and struggles to find a new one, they may decide that starting their own business is a good way to gain an income and become their own boss.

The reality is, however, that running a business requires a specific set of skills. If the business owner’s skills are more aligned with the products or services the business providers, such as catering, landscaping, plumbing, or providing legal services, then they may struggle with the practical and strategic aspects of building a business. This means these owners should seek education and assistance to build up these skills, which will help position them for success.

Andrew Laurie said, “Looking for employment isn’t a reason to not start a business but it doesn’t qualify a person to run a business.”

“It’s important for leaders to learn about business fundamentals, develop a plan that puts the right elements in place for sustainable growth, and get to a point where they understand which external factors are relevant and how to deal with them, as well as which external factors to ignore.”

It’s important to start by understanding where the business currently sits, including what strong elements are in place, where the gaps and challenges are, what opportunities are available, and what education and training the business owner requires to become a successful businessperson.

From there, it becomes possible to develop the plans that will get the business on track for success. Owners should start with a long-term plan, which will let them build a 12-month plan, which will lead to a plan for the next 90 days.

Andrew Laurie said, “The external factors that worry people are insignificant in the scheme of a business. It’s an unnecessary distraction to focus on or blame those factors.”

“Instead, business owners need to look inward at the business itself and determine what improvements can be made to better position it for growth.

“Then, the business owner can start to build real value that will withstand any environmental factors over time.

“Business owners who are unsure of how to proceed should contact a business coach who can help them work through these factors and set a realistic plan to set the business up for growth.”

Learn more on Andrew Laurie’s business background here:

Going from $50m to $2b in 20 months; Andrew Laurie, CEO, reflects on how he did it

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