I recently read “The E-Myth Revisited – Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About It.” Michael Gerber originally wrote it in 1986 and followed it with a dynasty of E-Myth variations. I read the revisited edition published in 1995. E in this series stands for ENTREPRENEUR.
Gerber had me nodding vigorously with him from the beginning when he talked about what he called an E-Seizure. It’s the bright idea that comes to people and makes them decide to quit their jobs and become an entrepreneur. What they don’t realize amid the E-seizure is that they might do what most people do. They create a new job for themselves. They stay in the technician roll. A hired hand. These nouveau entrepreneurs haven’t created processes that other people can implement so they can work on growing the business.
To truly be an entrepreneur, you must maintain an elevated view of your business to map the way forward. Entrepreneurs provide the vision. They guide and direct, they don’t spend 100% of their day doing the job. Gerber was likely was the first to coin the phrase, “Work on your business, not in your business.”
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Through several examples, he demonstrates this one incredibly important truth. If you really want to create a profitable multiplier, you need time to work ON the business. When you work on the business, you must create procedural systems. Not just one, big, overall system that includes job roles and broad statements, but procedures for each task. An entrepreneur’s income is not limited to how many hours she can work each week.
If you are running the whole show and fulfilling every role, then the first thing to do is to write down every job you do. Are you the CEO, the COO, marketing VP, the receptionist, and file clerk? Gerber recommends listing each of those roles (and any others that pertain to your business) and writing down job descriptions for each one.
Now that you have a good list and know the function of each position, decide which of those jobs you can outsource or hire employees to accomplish. Start by filling jobs that make economic sense, meaning the labor cost is a fraction of what you bill, or the job can make more money than it costs (sales personnel, for instance). Also, fill the jobs for the tasks you don’t enjoy. Filing, bookkeeping, and other administrative jobs are easier to cover and will free your time to think bigger and more long-term.
Process Over Piecemeal
The last aha I gleaned from the E-Myth is to create a customer experience process. What steps will you lead every single, solitary customer through every single time? You ought to establish consistency for the customer experience to be delivered each time they visit. AND there needs to be a series of steps that can be replicated.
Having something you can replicate, whether you are selling a service, widgets, or entire franchises, will firmly position you as an entrepreneur. You will be unleashed from the constraints of an hourly work week.
Honestly, this wasn’t my favorite business book I’ve read, but every day since I’ve read it, I’ve thought more about what I can do to create delineated procedures to make my work easier. I’s also spent more time developing programs to market more specifically to audience segments.
Truly, there is nothing wrong with being a consultant and billing hourly. Many people run successful consultancies and can increase their rate as they gain more experience. They might even have a great list of clients they can sell to another consultant when they retire. They are subject matter experts, and we loosely call them ‘solopreneurs.’ Their knowledge and expertise is what makes them valuable.
To be truly entrepreneurial, they will find a way to multiple the profits they can make. Books, speaking engagements, creating protégés … in essence, they become thought leaders.
If you left a job to be self-employed and have more time but feel like you’re slaving away to get ahead, this book is worth the read. Perhaps you’ve been a solopreneur for years and now you want to formalize your systems and hire new people who can enact what you’ve developed. This book will help you breakdown everything you do and create a refined blueprint.
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon.