The one business book every entrepreneur must read
When you're an entrepreneur or a leader at a small business, it can be a challenge to get the advice you need when making decisions. When I was an agency owner, I hired a business coach to help me become a good leader. The first thing she did was tell me to read The EMyth by Michael Gerber. Reading the book, I felt like Gerber was at my office and inside my head. He completely understood what was happening to me and my business, and he explained it in a totally relatable way.
Written on the form of stories of small business owners, Gerber explains what he calls "The entrepreneurial myth," which is the idea that any person who starts a business is an entrepreneur. The reality, he explains, is that most people who start businesses are technicians. A technician is a person who is good at their job. A technician likes their job. At some point, the technician realizes that the person he or she works for doesn't know nearly as much as they do and begins feeling frustrated. The idea of starting a business becomes an obsession. Gerber calls this an "entrepreneurial seizure." And so the technician starts his or her own business.
Unfortunately, the technician knows how to work in their business but doesn't know how to run a business. Before starting my business, I had the good fortune to be the marketing manager for a CPA firm that specialized in working with closely held-businesses. (A closely-held business is a business with a small number of owners.) I wrote many articles on behalf of the CPAs about the challenges small business owners face, and learned from them that many business owners don't know how read a balance sheet, or how to manage employees. They don't keep their personal finances separate from their business finances. Many small business owners fail to write strong contracts. Some have problems with paying estimated taxes or finding the right paperwork. Being a small business owner is about a lot more than knowing about the service you provide and the products that you sell. You need to know how to be a real entrepreneur - one who works on their business, not just in their business. Even though I knew about these entrepreneurial challenges and had access to good legal and accounting advice, starting my business was scary and hard. It was more comfortable for me to focus on the things I was good at and to ignore or say I was "too busy" to tackle the things things that made me uncomfortable. Although I loved the 10 years I spent as an entrepreneur, running a business was never easy. The E Myth gave me a lot of advice that made a huge difference in my ability to grow my business, hire employees, and even do crazy things like take vacations without worry. Imagine that!
Gerber's solution is brilliant, but not always easy to implement. You must think about how to make your work systematized, so that you can hire employees and trust them to get this job done. You have to think about how you will exit your business while you're building your business. You need to innovate. Most importantly, he explains how to work on your business, not in your business.
To learn exactly how to implement Gerber's ideas, you need to read the book. No matter what industry you are in, The E Myth will apply to your business. You will feel like there is someone out there who understands your struggles, can provide you with a path forward, and help you get away from being frustrated, overworked, and always one inch away from success. It's an easy read. Order a copy today. Your business will thank you.