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The E-Myth Revisited
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A Short Summary of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited
At some point in your career, you may want to make the leap from skilled professionals to start-up business owner. However, those that do often find that running and growing a business requires a full checklist of new, unfamiliar business management skills. This is the entrepreneur’s dilemma which Michael E. Gerber explores in the The E-Myth Revisited — an update to the original business book for start-up businesses: The E-Myth.
In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael helps new business owners successfully make the journey by encouraging them to think of each aspect of their new business as a system. A system is something that not only bring efficiency to a process, it can be replicated, repeated, run again and again and again. New employees can be trained to use the system and aspects of the system can be automated. With systems in place, the business can run smoothly with less chaos. But best of all systems free up your time to engage with customers and deliver the products and services that inspired you to become an entrepreneur in the first place.
Here at TeamworkIQ we not only found Gerber’s advice in The E-myth Revisited highly relevant to our own business growth, we found that The E-Myth Revisited’s central business strategies directly correlate with the products and services we deliver: Simple, systematic, software and apps to streamline operations, increase accountability, and boost process transparency without excessive effort or cost.
Here’s more of what we learned and have applied from the E-Myth Revisited:
Having Great Technical Skills Does Not Mean You Know How to Run a Business.
The basis of The E-Myth Revisited is that getting technical work done and running a business are two separate things. While this means business owners need both skills, it does not mean they are mutually exclusive. Gerber encourages business to focus on creating replicable, scalable systems rather than create dependencies on people. Sure you need talented people in your business, but people come and go over time. The systems remain and enable your business to be resilient. Doing so keep your business alive, thriving, and growing into its next stage.
If you’re thinking of starting a business, have started one, or run a group within a larger business, you probably know that being the business’ leader means your role will expand to encompass many different roles as you get your business started, and over the span of the first few years. This means you will be the founder and the CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO, and leader and decision-maker for absolutely everything. It’s overwhelming to think about, but your dream will get you through, right? Wrong, Gerber says. You need systems with simplicity, process transparency, accountability, and adaptability to help you run this beast.
As the business founder and leader, you will be responsible for:
- Products and services
- Website content
- Business strategy
Once you have employees, you will also be responsible for:
- Human resources
Your new business is a big responsibility — but you can do it.
Think of Your Business as a National Franchise, Then Start with One Store.
Gerber says the solution to most business problems is “systems”. Systems mean procedures, processes, methods, or courses of action designed to achieve something specific, for example, a new employee onboarding process, or, a new client engagement process.
When it comes to standard processes, each will have a beginning, middle, and end with a few or many steps in between. For clarity each step of a process should be assigned to a person of completing that step. For accountability, each task assignments should be tracked and monitored. Tracking and monitoring processes and tasks often requires a system of its own. Team members working to complete a process will be more capable and efficient when instructions are laid out clearly and steps can be completed and checked off.
Another of our favorite books, The Checklist Manifesto, provides guidelines for effective checklist creation. By defining your process as a procedural checklist your business can reply on a well defined, easy to create and easy to change system. Procedural checklists are extremely simple to create and use, but best of all the support Gerber’s notion of systems which drive consistent, measurable results.
According to Gerber, systematizing your business is the best way to produce growth and increased profitability. While you may be able to get initial sales and revenues for your business from your personal or business networks and full orders with your talents only when you build systems for sales and the lead generation processes that feed it can your business boom instead of go bust. And once the number of customers you have starts to grow, you need systems to handle that growth.
Start building business processes from day one so you will be able to replace yourself and other employees in the business as needed. Stepping away requires a detailed how-to manual based on outlines or checklists. This manual will allow you to systematize everything in your business and also train future employees flawlessly.
Build a System of Systems, So Your Business Doesn’t Rely on People’s Skills.
As Gerber knew, qualified, capable people are not always reliable. Employees change, move away, choose other careers, and decide to stay at home with their kids. While you have little control over other people, you do have control over your business’ processes. Building a solid foundational system of checklists will lead naturally into the how-to manual for your business, and then onto a more precise, adaptable manual to train new employees consistently.
To understand business systems and how they relate to your company better, The E-Myth Revisited recommends you break them down into three separate parts: hard systems, soft systems, and information systems. These systems work together to create a “system of systems.” Now, you change individual parts as long as you consider the impact on other systems. Your systems should always:
- Address specific problems or issues
- Be automatic
- Require little intensive thought or effort once created
- Be a process or routine
Are you getting the picture? Gerber’s goal is to help you step away from some of the many roles you play as a business owner. Here’s a breakdown of different kinds of systems from The E-Myth Revisited.
Hard systems are the systems you can touch — like computer hardware. These systems are inanimate objects that you and your employees deal with each day. Hard systems are required for any functioning business, but they are not the only systems you need.
Soft systems include work policies, the positive attitudes your employees are expected to display while working with clients, and the mission of your company. Your mission should direct your business goals and be shared with all employees. To stay focused, make a personal checklist of your business goals in support of your mission.
Information systems include accounting software, payment systems, websites, direct mail marketing campaigns, and many other elements of your business which rely on storing, processing or moving data (aka “information”). These also include the documentation of your business processes — your standard operating procedures and new employee training materials. Usually these are electronic documents, but in some cases printed versions are useful to staff members as well.
You also have business processes which need to be followed when certain kids of events occur for the business. For example, when a new employee is hired many people need to take action to get the new employee set up for payroll and benefits, have a place to work, get access to equipment needed, attend training, meet co-workers and supervisors, and so on. There are many steps–each of which need to be tracked. We suggest you create and use an Employee Onboarding Checklist. Set up a template, then for each new staff member create a checklist from the template and use that to guide the process. TeamworkIQ is an “information system” design precisely for such checklists, workflows and business processes. It lets you create templates for your processes, generates checklists when you need them, and automatically tracks task assignments for everyone involved.
All three systems are present in a successful business, and all three are interlinked, so changing one of them will change the others — but that’s what you want. Any business must be adaptable — business regulations and a fickle marketplace can instantly change the course of your business. Having systems in place is the key to navigating entrepreneurship and the business world, no matter your industry, services, or products.
How to Create Smart, Simple Business Systems?
Our goal at TeamworkIQ is to help you get systems into place without having to spend excessive money on traditional workflow software and the software developers who know how to code it. With TeamworkIQ, you simply type up who needs to do what as you would in a Word document or with Google Docs. If you can outline the process as a step-by-step bulleted list, then TeamworkIQ can automate it.
This makes TeamworkIQ an ideal fit for creating recurring processes and the standard operating procedure how-to manuals for your business. However, TeamworkIQ goes further to help you systematize and automate the actual work. The processes, tasks, and workflows described in how-to manuals can be instantly automated so employees have a usable checklist to guide then through completing the work. TeamworkIQ assigns tasks in the checklists to team members, monitors their progress and help you make sure things get done right.
Not all processes need a checklist, but many do to make sure things get done on time and details do not fall through the cracks. Here are a few your business could use today:
- Employee onboarding process
- Customer onboarding process
- Weekly, monthly, quarterly accounting checklists
- Facility and physical systems maintenance
- Employee software training process
- Employee daily task processes
- Individual task processes
- Company policies
TeamworkIQ’s smart checklists provide simple, transparent, automated, and intelligent business coordination.
TeamworkIQ – The Smart System for Checklists, Workflows and Recurring ProcessesTeamworkIQ is not just another checklist app. Its smarts handles recurring processes, workflows, task management and collaborative to-do lists. It’s smart software that’s simple like an app but fills the role of the intelligent, proactive, always aware process coordinator for your team. That way everyone stays on-track and work moves forward. It’s a remarkably simple and smart way to create systems for your business.
Get inspired. Sign up and discover what TeamworkIQ can do for you.
How does TeamworkIQ work?
Type up your process
TeamworkIQ handles all the next steps, task assignments, and due dates for you.
Start new workflows
TeamworkIQ coordinates the workflow and keeps you up-to-date.
Get immediate results
Free up your time and reduce costs as work gets done faster and gets done right the first time.