The eMyth: Book review

By Michael E Gerber

I had heard The eMyth mentioned as an excellent business book quite a few times, and I duly added it to my reading list.  It shot to the top of my list when I was at the UK VA Conference this year. When the speaker said every small business owner should read the eMyth, the room erupted in agreement.  I realised at that moment that it was time to get myself up to speed, and educate myself on what the eMyth is.

To save you time, here is The eMyth book review that I have written especially for you.  I’ve even picked out some of the key lessons to take away from it.

Is The eMyth worthy of the hype?

Unequivocally, yes.  You would never believe, reading The eMyth, that it was published almost 25 years ago.  The information is as relevant today as it was then.  I can see why over two million copies of this book have been sold.  

Copy of the E Myth by Michael E Gerber

My biggest take-away #1

In running a small business as a sole trader, you play three different and well-defined roles.  

  • The Technician, who carries out the actual work – whether that’s the service your business delivers, or making the product your business sells.  
  • The Manager, who organises the Technician and makes sure work is done as efficiently and to as high a standard as possible.  These two roles work in your business.  
  • Finally, the Entrepreneur, who guides the business as a whole.  The Entrepreneur works on your business.

My biggest take-away #2

The phases your business will go through relate directly to each of those roles.  

  • Your business’ Infancy Phase is also the Technician’s Phase, where it’s just you running the whole show.  Eventually, when things get too busy for you on your own, you will either choose to “get small again” (which Gerber says is the death knell for any business), or enter Adolescent Phase.
  • The Adolescent Phase (also the Manager’s Phase), is where it’s no longer just you. You’ve hired in help of some kind and The Manager in you needs to do a bit more work.  Gerber describes common pitfalls to the business manager going through this stage.
  • Maturity is the Entrepreneurial Phase, and Gerber says that this is not an inevitable result of the first two phases.  He explains that businesses can start out mature, by planning the way things are done and how they will be in the future.
Turn key operation - the eMyth

My biggest take-away #3

To operate as a mature business, it is important to understand what is meant by the “turn key revolution”.  Can your business run without you in it?  The better your business can do this, the more resilient it will be in the long term.

Gerber explains how every small business should be run as a “franchise prototype”, even if you are never planning to franchise.  Running things this way will enable you to remove yourself from specific areas of the business in a targeted and systematic way.  Eventually, you should be able to remove yourself from the day-to-day running of your business.

This not only creates time for you to work on other projects, businesses or leisure activities.  Crucially, it adds a lot of extra value to your business.

What will I do differently now?

Ever the optimist, I had always been planning a ‘mature’ business that can manage without me if and when I get hit by a bus.  I am entirely committed to my cause of helping others, but I knew I wanted to build a resilient business that can run without me if ever it has to.

Fortunately, Gerber provides a comprehensive Business Development Strategy for doing just this.  He explains, using great examples, the process of creating such resilience through the development of smart strategies.

I for one am working my way through these strategies to ensure my business has a solid foundation and is a “franchise prototype”.  Until then, I am steering well clear of buses.

Is The eMyth worth your precious time?

My one criticism is that I think Michael Gerber could have conveyed some of his message more concisely.  He uses a lot of anecdotes and spends lots of time setting the scene.  Whilst that adds to the readability, it does mean you have to cut through some waffle in parts to get to the point.  But the rewards are worth working for.  His messages are spot-on.

In fact, if you are a small business owner, I’d go so far as to say that reading The eMyth is essential.  If you ever want to retire or sell your business, you’re going to need to start planning for it now.  This book will tell you exactly how to do it.

This concludes my eMyth book review.  I hope it has been helpful to you.  Remember, if you are running a business in infancy phase, you don’t have to do it alone.  A Virtual Assistant can help you with running many of the day-to-day tasks which don’t require your expertise.  Even if your business is in adolescence or maturity, it is likely a Virtual Assistant can relieve you of some of your lower-level tasks.  

If you’d like to commit more time to being The Entrepreneur in your business, check out some of the things I can help you to save time on.  To arrange a free 30-minute consultation, click here.

Have you read The eMyth?  What did you think?  Do you have any favourite personal development books?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below:

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