Busting entrepreneurial chops!
About 3 weeks ago, Michael Gerber, the author of the E-Myth, took
on, and confounded about 250 business owners, CEO’s, and Entrepreneurs
at a breakfast on Long Island.
Hosted by TAB, The
Alternative Board, Gerber set out to bust chops,
and did a spectacular job of it.
You probably have read his book, and the fundament assertion: The
E-Myth is that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs risking
capital to make a profit. Gerber’s view is that it ain’t
so – what most often happens is that most small businesses
are started by people who replace a job working for someone else
with a job working for themselves. He goes on to say that this
is at best a messy and unsatisfactory process, where 40% fail in
a year, and 80% fail in 4 years.
As if that weren’t enough buckshot in the entrepreneurial
backside, Gerber now asserts: The only purpose for starting
a business is to sell it! Whaaat? Sell “my baby?” Yep.
By my estimates, at least 75% of the attendees (including this entrepreneur)
did not have selling in mind when they started their business. And
the idea of selling their business – or that it was, in fact,
saleable, was somewhere between uncomfortable and unconscionable.
So did Gerber stop there? Of course not – he took the proposition
apart, let us look at the elements, and let us put it back together
- “The best thing to do as the owner of a business
is to move 6 blocks away!” Reasoning – as long as the owner
is doing all the work, he is creating zero – he’s
just being an employee. Only by distancing himself from the place
where the business is generated can he do his real job – creating
a business that he can ultimately manage from a distance, and
- Ah, but your business has problems, difficulties, concerns. Gerber
is right there with the following comforting.aphorism: “The
fish always stinks from the head down.” Interpretation: “You
are the head of your business. You must be the source of the
bad news – you’re the sole source of your problems;
the good news – since you’re the boss, you can
f it as soon as you stop complaining about it!
- Complaint: “You can’t find any good, loyal,
hard-working employees any more. They come in late, go home early,
and do drugs at lunchtime.” Gerber’s solution to one of the
favorite conundrums – “You can’t build
a successful company that relies on people. You must build
a system that anyone can deliver.” Sounds like McDonalds?
Gerber spent some time with that parallel.
- “If the business depends on you, you haven’t created
a business, you’ve created a job for yourself. And it’s
the worst job in the world because you’re working for
a lunatic!” Gerber
reiterates – “You can sell a business, but you
sell a job to anyone else.”
- Gerber goes on to suggest that we are quickly seduced into “being
our business.” Gerber distinguishes between three fundamental
business roles: Owner/CEO, Manager, and Technician. You and
I probably spend time in each role, particularly if you’re
a sole proprietor, and probably more time than we’d like
to admit at the lower levels. Have a look.
Technician is a doer.
Lives in the present. Does the work.
Manager’s is a planner,
gets message of history, lives in the past. Chooses order in
preference to chaos. Seeks problems to solve.
a visionary – lives in the future,
never in the past, rarely in the present. Asks “what
if” or “what
then.” Looks at chaos for new opportunities.
to Richard Strautman of TAB, the Alternative Board, for
his notes of Gerber’s presentation, and the neat little
assessment that follows:
In your company:
|What are you?
||What would you like to be?
Final Gerberism: “If your business isn’t growing,
Hint: Neither the manager nor the technician
have any real interest in growth.
Questions? Give me a buzz at (516)944-6454
or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.