Many aspire to create their own business, hoping to climb out from underneath the shadow of being an employee and stand in the sun as an employer. Of course, it is not quite that simple.
In the book by Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, we learn many lessons about how to go about living the dream of entrepreneurship.
It is not an easy task to build something successful, but with the right mindset it is certainly possible.
Here are 20 lessons to keep in mind when building your small business into something great.
1. You are Three People in One – For Now
Starting a business provides you the opportunity to wear many hats. Specifically, that of entrepreneur, technician, and manager. As Michael points out, an entrepreneur must find balance amongst these three roles – in fact, the entrepreneur must take precedence. For without vision and foresight, the other two roles will be useless.
2. It Isn’t the Commodity – It’s the Delivery
If there is one thing we can guarantee every single one of your customers wants, it is good service. Focus on building around this principle, delivering whatever your widget is in a perfect package, and people will be drawn to your business.
3. The Business Should Serve Your Life, Not the Other Way Around
Create your models and methods with yourself in mind. Gerber insists the entrepreneurs should not be enslaved by the business. Build in a way that does not make you feel trapped.
4. Great Businesses are Built by the Ordinary Doing Extraordinary
Simply put, we can all build a great business if we work hard and focus on doing it the right way. Everyone can work hard.
5. Consistency is the Key to Good Service
When building your model focus on consistency. When your clients know and expect the service will be predictably great every time, they will happily return to your business.
6. Great People Create Their Lives
This point can be practiced in and out of business. Do not let circumstances drive what your life or business becomes, make choices that drive circumstances.
7. We are Capable of Great Things – Even Running a Business
Humanity has done some miraculous things (think: putting a man on the moon or building computers). We are certainly all capable of running a business.
8. Marketing is About What Your Customer Wants
While it is your business, it is all about your customer. Find out what they want and then cater to it. Trying to convince your customers what you want is what they want is impossible.
9. Your Customer’s Perception is Reality
Think deeper than, “The customer is always right.” Their values, needs, wants, and desires are what is right. Put yourself in their shoes and then provide a valuable product from that perspective.
10. Marketing is Guaranteeing Something No One Else Will
Taking appropriate risks to draw your clients and customers in is the only way to succeed. Stand out in a way others do not dare to – but make sure you are fulfilling the guarantee the same way, every time.
11. Build on Systems, Not Individuals
Workflows and processes can be duplicated, individual performance cannot. This goes back to the technician vs manager vs entrepreneur conversation. If you think you will forever be in those three roles, then your business will fail.
12. Understand your Business
Do not get caught up in the mundane task of building widgets. Know what your business is. Remember to keep the entrepreneurial ability to see the big picture.
13. Build your Model Out of Scale
See your business at its ultimate potential. Then build to that point. Do not envision what it could be today or tomorrow and then keep rewriting the plan.
14. Stay Focused on the Long Haul
Decide what your business will look like down the road. Keep that biggest picture in mind in all your processes and decisions.
15. Plug Others In
You have done the work of creating processes that can be duplicated, so plug others into appropriate roles.
16. You Hold the Power
You have the vision, you set the goals, and you alone hold the power to achieve them. It is your business and your vision will shape it – good or bad.
17. Ask How This Will Work
The successful entrepreneur asks, “How Will This Work?”. The unsuccessful one asks, “What Work Can I Do?”
18. Create Your Own Principles
While learning from successful business models is great, you should be looking to make even the best model better. Create a new, never seen model that customers think is better.
19. Make Everyone Happy
It is possible. From customers to your managers to your technicians, everyone should be happy.
20. Work ON the Business, Not IN the Business
Again, as an entrepreneur, the business will require you to wear many hats…at first. However, the end goal is to be working on the vision and direction of the business, not the daily tasks the business requires.
As we can see, there are plenty of lessons to be gleaned from Michael E. Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. Grab on to the lessons and apply them as you start your most successful business journey yet.