The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber
Exploring the E-myth – (E stands for Entrepreneurial)
Many of us have started our own business enthused about the concept of “working for ourselves” lured often misguidedly by perceived freedom to do as we please.
In his book the E-myth revisited Michael E Gerber explores the reason why most small businesses don’t work and shows us a series of steps so that we may never have to work again – well not at the coal face anyway.
Suddenly we find that running a business is not just about being great at what we do – we find we have to wear many hats; Sales, Marketing, Production, Bookkeeper, Accountant, Administrator, Dept Collector, Secretary etc etc
The trouble is that most of us have a hard time developing away from our roles as Technicians (good at what we do) to become the Entrepreneurs (visionary) and the Managers (business administer). All three roles are pivotal in creating a successful business but the inevitable conflict between these roles often leads to business failure.
As an example, Creative Solutions a graphic & website design agency which also specialises in 3D modelling came about from the merger of two companies. Both were working in a similar field trying to be all things to all people, including the tax man. At first each of the three partners was able to focus in on own strengths but as the company grew each they ended up working back at the coalface. So they took on some staff and for a while everything was hunky dory until they grew to the point where everyone was back working at the coalface again. Doh! There has to be a better way!
Work ON your business, not IN it!
What Creative solutions did next was to think about all the job roles that had to be completed to ensure a successful year end and who within the current organisation structure undertook each of the roles. Their current Company Organisational Chart is attached for your information.
The result of this exercise was that many of the staff took on additional roles and Creative Solutions invested in the training of staff. Now whenever they win a large contract or need to restructure, they use the organisational chart to see what impact the incumbent changes will have. This model can be applied to the sole trader in that, there will come a time when you need to outsource your legal requirements, accountancy, lead generation etc
Investors in People
As they grew however they still found there were issues with the company set up and it was the Investors in People assessor who identified the reason. So applying the IiP model they developed and communicated a company business plan. More importantly the plan needed to be believed by all, and so more likely to be followed through and followed up.
Each business meeting is now structured, minutes taken and action points recorded so that there is a planned approach to achieving the 5 year plan. Neither strategy nor tactics alone will lead to success (and this applies to sole traders as much as a company with staff employed.)
The Franchise Approach – Your Business in a Box
Gerber also looks at the franchising model used to create turn-key success stories and suggests that we should approach our businesses as though we were going to franchise it. The idea is to design the business as you want to run the business, rather than having the business run you.
This means putting together the standard operating procedures. Again this can apply to sole traders just as well as it does with those with staff. It is a way of clearly communicating exactly how you wish something to be done whether it is answering the phone, or how you would like your bookkeeper to present your management accounts.