The E-Myth Revisited sat on my bookshelf for several years, unread. Then a couple of years ago I finally got round to reading it, and it changed my business!
Gerber talks about systems and processes and it completely made sense to me. I had a business (a virtual office) which had procedure and instruction manuals in place, because that’s how my head works.
So how did it change my business if I was already doing it?
At the time I was creating processes each time we took on a new client—so we all knew the flow of work and who was responsible for doing what. It was only when I read The E-Myth that I realised what I was doing, whilst it might be common-sense to me, was of value to a business—and I was doing it for free as part of the sign-up process for a new client! And so The Office Fixer was born.
But back to the book. What exactly is Gerber saying about, what I have christened, ’processorising’?
He talks about the Turn-Key Revolution and the Franchise business model. Going against the grain of popular belief, that success lies in the product, the Turn-Key/Franchise model believes that the success lies in the business itself and therefore the way it runs is paramount to it’s success.
His example through-out the book is MacDonalds and Gerber suggests that all small businesses should set themselves up as though they are going to franchise, whether or not they are. By this he means that the business should be reliant on it’s processes not it’s people, so that it can be replicated many times and still offer the same standards of service.
Earlier in the book Gerber has explored the battle that goes on inside most small business owners. The battle is between the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician that lie inside all of us.
It is likely that most people have set up their business because they are good at whatever it is the business is specialising in—photography, car maintenance, building websites, etc. This inevitably leads to a constant battle between spending time working IN the business as a technician, rather than ON the business as a manager and looking forward as an entrepreneur.
By having processes and systems in place, you are able to get other people working IN the business which allows you to spend time working ON the business, growing the business and if appropriate expanding into new areas.
In the final section of the book Gerber takes you through a system to build a small business that works. He starts with your ’primary aim’ and then goes through 6 different strategy areas, all the while following the story of Sarah from ‘All About Pies’, who he introduces at the beginning of the book.
I would strongly recommend that any business owner who wants to move beyond just having themselves in the business, invests in this book and takes on board the concepts it presents—even if you don’t want to franchise the model.