E Myth Revisited

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Michael E. Gerber explains in his book The E-Myth Revisited his concept of why small businesses don’t work. Something he calls the E-Myth or the entrepreneurial myth is the assumption that anyone who starts a business is an entrepreneur. An aspiring business person can have something he calls an entrepreneurial seizure, this is when a technician is suddenly struck by the urge to take their technical trade that are usually very good at and go into business for themselves. The fatal assumption is that just because someone has mastered their trade does not mean that they have the slightest clue of how a business works.

Gerber is the founder and CEO of E-Myth Worldwide, in the book he is walking Sarah, a distressed small business owner through the steps of how a successful business needs to be ran. Sarah explains to Gerber that she went into the pie making business three long years ago, and things have not turned out the way she expected that they would by owning her own business. Sarah is like most small business owners, a technician who has mastered her trade who is now cursed by the fatal assumption of the E-Myth. She has made the mistake that almost people make when they go into business for themselves, to take on all the positions her business had to offer herself. Now unable to continue overworking in this way Gerber explains that every entrepreneur suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure will eventually experience the same thing. “First exhilaration; second terror; third exhaustion; and, finally, despair.”(Gerber, 17)

Gerber explains that there are three different people inside a business owner the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. In most cases the technician is the most prevalent of all of a business owner’s personalities. The technician lives in the present. He is the worker, the labor, the one who gets things done. The work ethic of the technician is off the chart; the only problem is that he is so busy working in his business that he neglects the work that needs to be done on the business to become a success.

The Manager represents the past, He is the one in control of all of the business planning, without him there would be no order, and everything would be unpredictable. More of a practical person he always has problems on his mind. When it comes to solving the problems the manager is the type of person that would feel more comfortable taking the proven approach, one that is safe and already tested. Then there is the entrepreneur, the guy who convinced you in the first place that there is no other way, you had to go into business for yourself and open up your own company. It is clear that he is the dreamer, living in the future dreaming of where he could take the business one day. He is the creative one who is always looking for new or innovative ways to do things.

The problem with all of this is they usually don’t work well together. As the entrepreneur in you is fighting with the manager about some new innovative way the technician won’t even listen because he is too busy at work trying to make money for the company the only way he knows how; to physically do the job himself. When in harmony with each other these different personalities will make your business run efficient and effectively, but in most cases people aspiring to become successful business owners are unable to balance them together.

Gerber goes on to explain that there are also three different phases in a business’s life. If you want to understand how to repair your business you need to understand where your business is standing in its life. Infancy or the “technicians” stage is the first; this is when the technician who is the owner is in control of everything. If you took him away there would be no business, it cannot run without him. It is easy to see that in order to move up and onto the next stage things would need to change. When the owner realizes this, and he makes the notion to seek outside help this is known...
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