The Business Owner’s Bookshelf: The E-Myth Revisited

Our next book in our Business Owner’s Bookshelf series is on a book called “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber.

I have to start off by saying that I really enjoy this book. When I started working at Network Depot, it was one of the books given to me to read, and as I was reading it, I kept saying to myself “Yes, that makes so much sense! Of course!” It’s just one of those types of books.

What Michael Gerber does in this book is takes you through the process of building a business-starting at the beginning, all the way to a complete success. He not only describes the different growing pains and challenges that happen along the way, he explains why they happen and how to solve them.

I asked Paul Barnett, our VP-COO here at Network Depot, to tell me about why he liked the book so much, and why he thought it was a really important book for business owners to read. Here is what he had to say about it:

The main point of this book is very straightforward- most small businesses fail because the owner has the wrong mindset. The owner works in the business rather than on the business.

It explains that there are three types of roles that all business owners need to understand- mainly because they usually end up getting stuck in one of them, a key way a business ultimately fails.

Here are the three types of roles:

The Technician: This person is an expert in their craft, be it baking, programming, contracting, etc. Often times, their expertise leads them to go into business for themselves. Since they are so good at it, why not get all the profit? However, since they are the happiest when they are actually doing the work, they tend to ignore everything else involved in running a business.

The Entrepreneur: This person is a dreamer. They see the ultimate vision they have for their business, they want to reach for the stars- and get there now. They are often very frustrated with how slow the world seems to move. Since they tend to always live in the future, looking at where they want the business to go, they usually don’t understand what is happening in the present.

The Manager: This person is very detail-oriented. They are the person who remembers to pay the bills, keeps the business organized, and strives for a world where things happen in an orderly, predictable way.

In order for the business to thrive, it has to have capable people fulfilling all the roles, and this person can’t be the founder. A business needs to evolve past the founder of the company, so that if they go on vacation, the business can still run without them. Unfortunately, more often than not, business owners get stuck being the only one able to handle one (or more) of these three roles mentioned above- most often the “technician”.

A perfect example of getting stuck in the “technician” role would be a great restaurant owner/chef who is the only one in the establishment capable of cooking their great quality food. What happens when he is on vacation? Does the food quality go down? Who manages the restaurant? Is he so busy cooking that he pays no attention to the day-to-day operations of the business? Who has the Entrepreneurial vision? Is the chef so busy that he forgets about the long term vision?

This book helps guide someone who actually wants to be business owner learn how to really do it successfully- without getting stuck.

Not only is it a great book for business owners, but I think it’s also a great book for anyone to read- because it really delves into what is involved in running a business. Many people might want to start their own business, but to really pull it off you have to be able to do much more than just cook great food or fix a car. You have to be able to put yourself aside, delegate, and turn your business into an entity that can function seamlessly without you- then it is a real success.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it? How did it help you as a business owner? Let us know in the comments!

Check out the other posts in our Business Owner’s Bookshelf series:

The Business Owner’s Bookshelf: The Go-Giver

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