The book E myth revisited is another book about entrepreneurship that I am reviewing. I find this book a great asset for every aspiring entrepreneur. Since I myself do have some entrepreneurial experience I have found some of the advice logical, however someone with no such experience would find most of the concepts in the book very valuable. I would highly recommend reading this book to anyone trying to make his first entrepreneurial journey since trap in which lot of aspiring entrepreneurs fall into is definitely the idea to start your own business to work in it, when instead you should work on your business. The book is also quite interesting since it’s packed with lots of examples from real life, and there is also a very interesting dialog throughout the book between the book author and Sarah. Sarah is the typical hardworking but still unsuccessful small business owner which grows her knowledge, perception and goals throughout the book on how business should be run. Book is generally more biased for B2C business owners, however most of the concepts are universally applicable to both B2C and B2B. I have also managed to extract a few really great quotes from this book, they are in the end of this book review so take a look.
The book can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Revisited-Small-Businesses-About-ebook/dp/B000RO9VJK
About the book
The book starts with describing the E-myth i.e. the myth that a very good worker with a sound idea can make a great business, however this of course isn’t true. In each one of us there are three personalities: entrepreneur (E), Manager (M) and Technician (T). Entrepreneur is a dreamer who lives in the future, he’s innovative, strategic thinking, constantly generating change and chaos and being way ahead of others. Manager is pragmatic and predictable planner that lives mostly in the past and seeks order and status quo. Technician is the doer since he lives only in present moment. Most small business owners are 70% T, 20% M and only 10% E and this is one of the key reasons why so much small businesses fail.
The book talks about early stages of company development which are infancy where you are pretty much the one-man band and the adolescence where you manage a few employees. One of the typical mistakes of early business owners is to delegate too much strategic, development and managerial (E stuff and some M stuff) to their first few employees and then reverting to the things they know and love and that is to work, work and then work some more (the T stuff and T personality). Since all employees need vision and purpose which they typically can’t create on their own they leave and then your business reverts to infancy phase where you do and control everything, the dream of how great is to have your own business slowly fades away and only work remains….after some time people just quit.
The author then talks about the great concept of turn-key revolution i.e. about the franchise model that was pretty much patented from Ray Kroc from McDonalds. He talks about the very small 5-year failure rate of franchises which are around 5%, and the very big failure rate of small businesses which is around 80%. Even though you may not want to start your business as a franchise it is still very important to “franchise” your business so that it can be replicated i.e. used as a prototype/model for another 5.000 businesses. This is a major perception change with big benefits: it changes your vision, you are invited to work on your business and not in your business, you separate yourself and your business and you start to think about your business as anything but a job! There are some powerful messages in this section since the business owner must ask himself How can I get my business to work, but without me, how can I get my people to work, but without my constant interference, how can I spend my time doing the work I love to do rather than the work I have to do?
Another big part of the book tells a story about three important and iterative processes in any small business and these are innovation (to innovate a product or service that customer needs), quantification (number of people, processes, tasks, stuff, calls etc.) and orchestration (make order, standardize processes and achieve quality) so to eliminate discretion or choice. There is another powerful concept where people while working on their business understand it’s the metaphor to work on their lives and for personal transformation and growth.
Then a lot of effort is given to explain the program every business owner should do which is composed of seven distinct steps to define: 1. Your Primary Aim (vision), 2. Your strategic objective, 3. Your organizational strategy, 4. your management strategy, 5. Your people strategy, 6. Your marketing strategy, 7. Your systems strategy. Author emphasizes that it’s very important to make organizational chart with defined job functions even if there is only one people working (who at present moment fills all the boxes).
He also says that when you have clearly and precisely defined procedures and an operations manual for every job function then you actually don’t need top people since in a sound defined and managed system even average people can make exceptional results! There is one great idea that you actually can’t make your people to do anything, all you can do is to create an environment where doing it the right way is important to you people. The author posits that people actually need purpose, values, a game worth playing and a job worth doing, actually a place of community, purpose, order and meaning.
The author then talks about the hierarchy of systems in your business: 1. How We Do It Here. 2. How we recruit, hire, and train people to do it here. 3. How we manage it here. 4. How we change it here.
Then there is a big section talking about sales and marketing. The author talks about customers and his unconscious mind (with expectations i.e. needs and tastes that a lot of customers aren’t really aware of) where all the action is and the buying process also happens. He posits that all decisions are really made in unconscious mind and then the rational/conscious mind assemble rationale around it. He says that actually everyone in the company should ask the question: “What must our business be in the mind of our customers in order for them to choose us over everyone else?” He then talks about never ending processes of marketing, sales and operations or lead generation, lead conversion and client fulfillment.
The book finishes with talks about the change and about the chaos that really isn’t out there, that the world is not in chaos, that actually we are. To succeed we must change ourselves and not the world around us. The book ends with the motivation to “lift the curtain”, to see the other side i.e. to go out of your comfort zone and to stop delaying, thinking and planning and to act and start doing.
The best entrepreneurs are best because they have a strong desire to know more, not because they know a lot.
Your business is a reflection of you. If the business needs to be changed you have to change as well.
The comfort zone of a worker is how much he or she can control, comfort zone of a manager is how many workers or sub-managers he can control, and the comfort zone of entrepreneur is how much managers can he make to follow his vision.
For many people, a job is crucial psychologically, over and above the paycheck. By making clear demands on their time and energy, it provides an element of structure around which the rest of their lives can be organized.
The problem isn’t your business; it never has been. The problem is you! It has always been you and will always be you. Until you change, that is.
The difference between a warrior and an ordinary man is that a warrior sees everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man sees everything as either a blessing or a curse.
What is really customer buying when he buys from you? The truth is, nobody’s interested in the commodity. Customer buys feelings.
The customer is not always right, but whether he is or not, it is our job to make him feel that way.
What most people need, then, is a place of community that has purpose, order, and meaning.
Freedom does not come automatically; it is achieved. And it is not gained in a single bound; it must be achieved each day.
When you hear something, you will forget it. When you see something, you will remember it. But not until you do something, will you understand it.
But, I ask you not to think about it anymore. It’s time to act. Because until you do, you won’t understand it. And when you do, there will be nothing left to think about—you’ll be well on your way. Until then, it’s just another good idea, just another creative thought.
Since I managed to write quite a lot (again 🙂 I will not keep this post any longer and I will just once again recommend this book for reading at least once. Although there are some parts that you don’t understand at first and it’s obvious that it’s initially written quite a while ago, still there are so much useful tips there for any aspiring entrepreneur or IoT enthusiast. For any suggestions, comments and questions please contact me via nikola@simpleIoT.eu.