Over the past 40 years, my company has been challenged to apply the E-Myth model I created to more than 100,000 small businesses throughout the world—every kind of small business, ranging from hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech businesses.
In that time, we’ve helped businesses that were successful, but not enough so, and businesses that were not successful and suffering daily.
We’ve also helped businesses that were a walking disaster—hoping upon hope that something lucky would walk in the door, knowing all the time that it wouldn’t or couldn’t because they wouldn’t know what to do with it even if it did.
In every single case, the problem standing in the way of the business’s success had nothing to do with what everyone thought it to be. It wasn’t because they didn’t know how to sell better than the guy next door. It wasn’t because they didn’t have enough capital to keep the wolves from the door. It wasn’t because they didn’t know how to manage, to market, to handle their money. Oh, yes, it was all of those things. But fixing any one of them wouldn’t help, no matter how productive the fix was in the moment.
No, the problem of every single small business we walked into over those 40 years of providing the E-Myth solution where we could was one very clear thing, demonstrably clear, in every single case, every single time. It was the owner of the business who stood in the way. It was the owner of the business, struggling as most are, who failed to understand what differentiates great growing companies from all the rest. It’s the owner who fails to understand the role he or she must play every single day, without fail.
It’s the Role We Call ‘The Entrepreneur’
If you’ve read my book, The E-Myth Revisited, you understand what I mean when I say “the entrepreneur.” He or she is the creator. The “imagineer” as Walt Disney called his folks at Disney Imagineering. The imagineer sees the world through completely different eyes than that guy or lady I call “the technician suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure.” That guy or lady who sets out to create a business of their own—the typical contractor, whether a remodeler, an architect, a framer, a plumber, an electrician, et al.
An entrepreneur lives above the work that needs to be done, lives above the business that does it. An entrepreneur sees the entirety of the company as a plan view—the whole of it, from the beginning to the very end. An entrepreneur sees the whole of his or her company as though it were a product, which it is when you look at it that way, a product to be ultimately sold.
Your company, I’m saying—you who are reading this commentary right now—is/must be/will inevitably be acquired by somebody else. That somebody will see it as an exquisite opportunity to grow, to scale, to profit from, to explore.
Unfortunately, only an infinitesimal number of the tens upon tens of thousands of small businesses we’ve worked with over the years were ever open to what I’m sharing with you right now. But those that did: 1-800-GOT-JUNK, by Brian Scudamore is close to $500 million strong! BNI, by Dr. Ivan Misner, is now worldwide in 175 countries! Engine, by Ron Miller, is generating capital for thousands of small companies. Infusionsoft, by Clate Mask, is over $100 million and on its way to a billion strong! Each and every one of them was built upon a single point of view, the E-Myth point of view.
A small businesses must be envisaged by its entrepreneur as a scalable enterprise, from the very beginning as a company of one, to the very end as a company of 1,000. Yes, I’m speaking about your company, no matter where you are or what you do. There’s a phenomenal mindset which must be imbued into every thought you have, every action you take, every promise you make, every hope you evoke, into every person you connect with, from those who buy from you, to those who work for you, to those who lend to you, to those who invest in you.
And the stunningly wonderful thing about all that is that the point of view I’m sharing with you here works every single time—to the degree, of course, that the owner follows it, one remarkably clear step at a time. Ray Kroc at McDonald’s did. Fred Smith at Federal Express did. All the folks I introduced to you previously did and do. Every single entrepreneur on the planet does, or if they don’t, they fail big time. They fail, as will you—the one reading this commentary now.
So let me give you the sum total of what’s required for you to soar: A dream, a vision, a purpose, and a mission is the fundamentally inspirational platform upon which every great company is launched.
When I started in 1977, my dream was to transform the state of small business worldwide. My vision was to invent the McDonald’s of small-business consulting. My purpose was to make it possible for every small business owner to become as successful as a McDonald’s franchisee. And my mission was to invent the small business development system upon which every single small business in the world could design, build, launch and grow an amazingly productive enterprise. QR
Michael E. Gerber is a leading small business author of 32 books on entrepreneurship and small business management. His N.Y. Times bestseller, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What to Do About It, is utilized in 118 universities as a foundational entrepreneurial textbook; is translated in 29 languages; and has been utilized in the creation of the curriculum of Michael E. Gerber Companies, ventures Gerber has founded in order to “Bring the Dream Back to Small Business Worldwide.”