The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
E-Myth \ ‘e-,’mith\ n 1: the entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs 2: the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work
Voted #1 business book by Inc. 500 CEOs.
An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.
Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
The E-Myth Revisited will help you grow your business in a productive, assured way.
“Gerber loves to exhort people to develop powerful visions for their companies.” — Fortune
“Thanks to Gerber l have freed up over three hours a day, significantly increased my sales, more than doubled my bottom line, and been able to take my first vacation in four years.” — Trish Lind, T. Lind Graphics, St. Paul, Minnesota
“Without a doubt, the most important message for our company over the next decade.” — The John Hancock Insurance Group
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Entrepreneurial Myth
They intoxicate themselves with work, so they won’t see how they really are.
The E-Myth is the myth of the entrepreneur. It runs deep in this country and rings of the heroic.
Picture the typical entrepreneur and Herculean pictures come to mind: a man or woman standing alone, wind-blown against the elements, bravely defying insurmountable odds, climbing sheer faces of treacherous rock–all to realize the dream of creating a business of one’s own.
The legend reeks of nobility, of lofty, extra-human efforts, of a prodigious commitment to larger-than-life ideals.
Well, while there are such people, my experience tells me they are rare.
Of the thousands of businesspeople I have had the opportunity to know and work with over the past two decades, few were real entrepreneurs when I met them.
The vision was all but gone in most.
The zest for the climb had turned into a terror of heights.
The face of the rock had become something to cling to rather than to scale.
Exhaustion was common, exhilaration rare.
But hadn’t all of them once been entrepreneurs? After all, they had started their own business. There must have been some dream that drove them to take such a risk.
But, if so, where was the dream now? Why had it faded?
Where was the entrepreneur who had started the business?
The answer is simple: the entrepreneur had only existed for a moment.
A fleeting second in time.
And then it was gone. In most cases, forever.
If the entrepreneur survived at all, it was only as a myth that grew out of a misunderstanding about who goes into business and why.
A misunderstanding that has cost us dearly in this country–more than we can possibly imagine–in lost resources, lost opportunities, and wasted lives.
That myth, that misunderstanding, I call the E-Myth, the myth of the entrepreneur.
And it finds its roots in this country in a romantic belief that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs, when, in fact, most are not.
Then who does start small businesses in America?
The Entrepreneurial Seizure
To understand the E-Myth and the misunderstanding at its core, let’s take a closer look at the person who goes into business. Not after he goes into business, but before.
For that matter, where were you before you started your business? And, if you’re thinking about going into business, where are you now?
Well, if you’re like most of the people I’ve known, you were working for somebody else.
What were you doing?
Probably technical work, like almost everybody who goes into business.
You were a carpenter, a mechanic, or a machinist.
You were a bookkeeper or a poodle clipper; a drafts-person or a hairdresser; a barber or a computer programmer; a doctor or a technical writer; a graphic artist or an accountant; an interior designer or a plumber or a salesperson.
But whatever you were, you were doing technical work.
And you were probably damn good at it.
But you were doing it for somebody else.
Then, one day, for no apparent reason, something happened. It might have been the weather, a birthday, or your child’s graduation from high school. It might have been the paycheck you received on a Friday afternoon, or a sideways glance from the boss that just didn’t sit right. It might have been a feeling that your boss didn’t really appreciate your contribution to the success of his business.
It could have been anything; it doesn’t matter what. But one day, for apparently no reason, you were suddenly stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure. And from that day on your life was never to be the same.
Inside your mind it sounded something like this: “What am I doing this for? Why am I working for this guy? Hell, I know as much about this business as he does. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have a business. Any dummy can run a business. I’m working for one.”
And the moment you paid attention to what you were saying and really took it to heart, your fate was sealed.
The excitement of cutting the cord became your constant companion.
The thought of independence followed you everywhere.
The idea of being your own boss, doing your own thing, singing your own song, became obsessively irresistible.
Once you were stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure, there was no relief.
You couldn’t get rid of it.
You had to start your own business.
About the Author:
Michael E. Gerber is a true legend of entrepreneurship. Inc. Magazine called him “the World’s #1 Small Business Guru.” He started over 40-plus years ago addressing a significant need in the small business market: businesses owned primarily by people with technical skills but few business skills, and no place to go to get meaningful help.
Over the years, Michael E. Gerber’s companies have helped hundreds of thousands of small business owner-clients to successfully transform their businesses into world-class operations.
Mr. Gerber’s E-Myth books include: The Most Successful Small Business in the World, Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, The E-Myth Enterprise, The E-Myth Mastery, The E-Myth Manager, along with co-authored E-Myth Vertical books: The E-Myth Attorney, The E-Myth Accountant, The E-Myth Optometrist, The E-Myth Chiropractor, The E-Myth Financial Advisor, The E-Myth Landscape Contractor, The E-Myth Architect, The E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage, The E-Myth Insurance Store, The E-Myth Dentist, The E-Myth Nutritionist, The E-Myth Bookkeeper, The E-Myth Veterinarian, and the first of Gerber’s newest C-Level series: The E-Myth Chief Financial Officer. Soon to be released, The E-Myth Real Estate Agent.