Today’s article is third in my Secrets to an Accelerated Business series. But this topic will come to you in six parts and bi-weekly to maintain flow (I hope you are so curious you can’t wait a week).
The following is from notes I took some years ago after reading “The E-Myth Revisited” (Michael E. Gerber), which is still as current as ever to business owners. I used these notes in developing people without prior experience into successful leaders of profitable businesses. My purpose now is the same – to help people going into, or already in, business understand how to build a sustainable income-producing system.
There is a belief that small businesses don’t work – but the people who own them certainly do. Small business owners work far more than they should for the return they are getting. As a result of owners doing the wrong work, most businesses end up in chaos: unmanageable, unpredictable, and unrewarding.
Statistics from Australia and USA show that 80% of the businesses started, fail in the first three and five years respectively. And yet it is small business that is the biggest generator of revenue in Australia, the biggest employer. Small business is ‘engine room’ of the country. I would say therefore that it’s crucial the engine room works magnificently and is not habitually breaking down.
The following four profound ideas, when taken to heart, will help you go a different path and create an exciting, rewarding business.
The E-Myth – the idea that small businesses are started by Entrepreneurs; people who are risking capital to make a profit. This belief is not true, and is the most important factor in the devastating rate of small business failure today.
The Turn-Key Revolution. This has changed not only the way we do business, but who goes into business, how they do it, and the likelihood of survival.
At the heart of the Turn-Key Revolution is a dynamic process called the Business Development Process. When it is systematized and applied purposely by a small business owner, this Process has the power to transform any small business into an incredibly effective organization. When taken into every activity and used to control its destiny, that company stays young and thrives.
The Business Development Process can be systematically applied by any small business owner, step-by-step, and incorporating the lessons of the Turn-Key Revolution. This process then becomes a predictable way to produce results and vitality.
These ideas are about:
- producing results,
- what makes people work, and
- a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
Your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are.
If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving less and less of themselves and always asking for more.
So if your business is to change – as it must continually to thrive – you must change first.
- What really is a business?
- What does it take to make one work?
There are almost magical opportunities available to anyone who starts a small business in the right way, with true understanding, with the necessary tools.
The Entrepreneurial Myth
This is the romantic, heroic sounding myth of the brave entrepreneur, facing the elements, against the odds – to realize the dream of creating a business of one’s own. The legend reeks of lofty, extra-human efforts, prodigious commitment to larger-than-life ideals. However, these kind of people are extremely rare in business.
Where did the entrepreneur go, who started the business?
In fact, the entrepreneur had only existed for a moment.
The Entrepreneurial Seizure
Most people going into business had been working for someone else, doing technical work; and were very good at it. Suddenly one day something happened or ‘snapped’, changing them forever: “What am I doing this for? Why am I working for this person? …If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have a business…any dummy can….” The thought of independence became exciting.
Once stricken with this entrepreneurial seizure, you had to become your own boss.
The Fatal Assumption
Most technicians going into business make a fatal assumption: If you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does the technical work. Fatal because it is not true.
In reality, knowing the technical work of his business becomes his single greatest liability, rather than being an asset.
The tragedy is that the business that was supposed to free him from the limitations of working for someone else, actually enslaves him. He knows how to do one job well, but there are a dozen other jobs in the business that he doesn’t know how to do at all.
The Entrepreneurial Seizure started the business, but it’s the Technician who goes to work. Then it turns into a nightmare. The Technician suffering from Entrepreneurial Seizure takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job. Rather than maintaining its specialness, representing his unique skills, the work becomes trivialized, something to get through, for everything else to get done. What a sense of loss.
The Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician
A paradox in creative tension
The problem is complicated: everybody who goes into business is three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician. This is compounded further by each of these wanting to be boss but none wanting to have a boss.
There is a conflict of personality, needs, interests and lifestyles between the three persons. One rules for a time, then something happens and the other (who is waiting in the wings) takes over…chaos!
The fact is, the business owner is actually not an ‘I’ but a ‘we’; one person makes promises for the other to keep. With three personalities vying for power no wonder we have trouble keeping our commitments to ourselves?
That is the kind of war going on inside the owner of every small business. It’s a three-way battle, but one which noone can win. Understanding the differences between the three ‘persons’ explains why.
In Part 2 you will meet the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician, and see why there there is such conflict. Part 3 will take you through the phases of any business and the outer limits of the owners’ comfort zone. From there, the journey becomes fascinating. I’m sure you will recognize yourself in various places and find some liberating thoughts that give you hope for the future.
(Notes originally taken and adapted from ‘The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber)