March 4, 2007

E-Mythology Realized

My buddy Simone requested, actually nearly demanded, that I read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it by Michael E. Gerber. Any recommendation from Simone is always worth the pursuit so I went yet again to Paddington Library here in London and picked up a copy. As always her advice was spot-on. Now I turn to you and say read it if you have or are considering starting a small business.

Gerber is a story teller which makes this book very easy to read and internalize. The E-Myth methodology is simple and builds on the concept that a small business owner is more than an entrepreneur, but rather is someone who must balance innovation with systemisation while being a technician and a craftsperson.

All small business owners need to articulate their Primary Aim prior to even thinking about starting a business – what is it that you want to do with your life? How much do you want to make, what do you want your role to be in the business? This ensures that you understand that you are building a business and working on it as opposed to it running you.

Then create a quantifiable Strategic Objective that drives your passion for the business. Non profit arts organisations are great at this one – its about making the art. But quantifying that statement becomes more difficult. What does success look like? And most important, what is your exit strategy.

The biggest idea in the book is that you should create your business with a franchise model in mind. This means that you think from the start that you will need to be able to slot almost anyone into the various posts that will exist when the business is in full swing. Of course from the start it may just be you. Build an organisational chart, create job descriptions and then even if you are the only person you should sign a post agreement for every job you are taking on. This way you know that you are an employee of the business not just an owner. As you find people to fill the posts you handover the work as well as a detailed manual of how that job needs to run.

Every time I think about starting a business, which is at least six times a year, I craft it around me and my skills as opposed to functions and systems that can be taught to someone else who is filling a post. The book encourages you to hold on to that passion, build it into your business culture but make sure that you create hard, soft and information systems that allow others to carry out your vision.