Review: Michael E. Gerber – The E-Myth Revisited (S)

Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Busines ses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

“An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.”

This is a review by my wife, who is my resident non-fiction and business book reviewer. She got quite a bit of enjoyment out of this one I think, since she kept going back to read it, and was laughing at times. We borrowed it via Scribd, but it’s not good enough to justify a paperback copy for a reread.

Let’s start from the beginning. I like to read everything in order, including the Foreword. Sometimes the Foreword in these types of books really set the scene, but the one in this book was pretty much useless. Jumping into the Introduction then – it was good because it outlined what was going to be covered in the book quite well.

Thankfully, the book then got into the meaty bits of information that I was there to read. The first Part of the book: The Emyth and American Small Businesses included the phases of business, which I found interesting. I much enjoyed the first half, although at times it seemed repetitive.

The main takeaway from this book is that you need to work on your business, rather than in it. The author refers to working in it as being a technician; you’re already an expert in the industry, and it’s simple to deal with each problem that comes up by yourself, rather than delegating or training your staff. It’s easy to fall into this trap of ‘I can fix this problem’ and then get distracted from working on the actual business. While other books I’ve read describe this phenomenon, this book was much more helpful because it gave specific guidance of how to work on your business. eg. having a Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) or an Operating Manual.

However, some of the strategic direction and aim was kinda useless. eg. ‘make sure you have a clear primary aim’. That’s great, most business books have this, so it’s nothing new.

The Part towards the end of the book talked about systems processes. Which was fine, it covered a number of good systems, but the problem was that it was sales focussed (a major drawback of most business books). It asked questions such as “What’s your numbers?” meaning new business numbers / how many appointments have been booked. Unfortunately that’s useless to someone who doesn’t work in sales. Not everything is about sales! Honestly I lost interest in the sales section. Some ideas about other benchmarks to help manage your current business would have been useful.

Who should read this? Anyone who has a small business. The take home message was that just because you’re an expert in your industry, but don’t always work in it, you need to step back and work on it. You need to train your staff for how you want things to run, and how you see the business. You need a vision and a plan, and your staff need to know it as well. I’m not going to read it again, so 4 stars from me.

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