“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” -John Locke
Today we’re starting a series of book reviews from our owner Sally Poole, and Poplar Bluff Office Manager Rose Anne Huck. We’re reviewing books we’ve found helpful and want to share with you! We’re hoping you find this information valuable and that it inspires you in your business. We’ll posting one review a month, so keep checking back!
The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It.
By Michael Gerber
Review by Rose Anne Huck
I was fascinated by the title of this book and further interested by the premise. A business consultant has a conversation with a bakery owner who loves to bake but is burned out and wondering if she has made a big mistake starting this business. The author walks us through a conversation where different aspects of the business are examined. He makes recommendations using a systems approach to the business. There is also a directive to establish your business as it will be when you are fully achieved.
Our author also makes a compelling case for a franchise approach to business development where everyday tasks are dissected for their best practices then duplicated across the whole business.
An examination of the core values of the business owner and the mission of the business yield some exciting options for giving back to the community.
Cleverly, there are references to the author’s website, where business consulting services are a click away, sprinkled throughout the book.
One concept I found particularly interesting was the description of having a job versus owning a business. Gerber tells us there are three personality types necessary to build a business: The Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. The Entrepreneur is the innovator, the person with vision who lives in the future and thrives on change. The Manager sees problems where the Entrepreneur sees opportunity. The Manager builds a house and lives in it forever. The Entrepreneur builds a house and is ready to start planning the next one. The Technician is the doer. As long as the Technician is working, he is happy, but only with one thing at a time. The Technician isn’t interested in ideas; he’s interested in “how to do it”. The Entrepreneur is always creating new and interesting things for the Technician to do.
All three of these profiles are part of each of us. If they were equally balanced, we’d be described as incredibly competent. But that balance is rare. Usually these points of view battle it out in our minds.
Businesses go through three stages of development: Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity. In Infancy, the Technician is in charge getting the work done, reveling in the freedom of owning a business. When you are successful and new customers come and the orders grow, eventually, you must move to the next stage of development where you must hire help. When that happens, often the owner is frantically trying to keep up with orders and business management. They may delegate by abdication meaning they neglect to give proper instruction and establish standards. Quality can suffer and so does the business.
This is the point where many businesses fail. What must happen is that the owner must build the business so that they can create jobs for others, not so much for themselves. If what you want to do is actually work, by all means get a job. Don’t start a business.
To move to Maturity, a business must be more than the person who owns it. It must operate well regardless of whether the owner is there. Quality must remain high. The loyalty of customers must depend not on one person but on the quality of services and products. And the owner must be free to dream, to wonder, to envision a bigger future for the company.
All in all, this book is a really good examination of some business principles and concepts which have helped me see the big picture in new ways. Some of the descriptions hit me between the eyes as errors in my own understanding of the “how” of business growth and management.
Find out more about the book here: http://www.michaelegerbercompanies.com/resources/products/the-e-myth-revisited/