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THE E-MYTH by Michael Gerber (Part 2)

Part II:  Why Michael Gerber deserves to have a statue on Main Street

After insulting the backbone of America by saying there is no such thing as a “born businessman,” Michael Gerber concedes that it is nonetheless possible to be a successful businessman.  It is his observation that a successful businessman is one who employs systems to get the work of his business accomplished, and much of the actual content of the E-Myth books is actually demonstrating this point.  Indeed, Mr. Gerber’s consulting business essentially entails helping folks develop their own systems.  While it is a shame that he had to take a nasty swing at entrepreneurs in general in order to get our attention, his focus on systems has been good for pretty much everyone.

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THE E-MYTH by Michael Gerber

Part I:  Why the book made me mad

A friend recommended I read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth, and so I did.  The book has received great press over the years, in a sort of wow-I-never-thought-of-it-that-way bewilderment of praise.  While it cannot be denied Gerber put voice to a little-observed phenomenon, I believe the way he did it did a disservice to entrepreneurs, and people in general.

Essentially, Gerber’s E-thesis is, like leprechauns and the tooth fairy, there’s no such thing as a natural-born entrepreneur.  What he calls an ‘entrepreneur’ is really just an ordinary — albeit technically proficient — person who suddenly realizes he doesn’t like his boss and/or could do things better than his boss.  In that fit of pique, the ordinary person quits his job, sets up his own shop, and proceeds to fail.  Why does he fail?  Because despite being technically proficient, he doesn’t know how to run a business!

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Fire Someone Today: A Book Review

book-firesomeoneThis little gem is the best business book I’ve ever read. In fact, I reread it periodically. Unlike most business books, it is not merely a collection of bumper sticker wisdom where all the best parts are collected for you in the Table of Contents. No, this is a book you should read carefully and slowly, with pen and paper handy for notes.

In one of my favorite parts, Bob Pritchett explains that a business has to choose between pricing (as in, how low can you go), service (as in, waiting on people hand and foot) and quality (as in, the latest labels or trends). Indeed, this is a problem I see business owners fighting on a regular basis. An IT guy will try to beat the perceived competition on price while still offering employee-level service…and go broke. A gift shop will scour the world for unique items, sell them at near-break-even prices…and wonder why they can’t pay the rent. Face it: you can’t compete on all 3 levels at the same time. That is, not if you want to succeed!

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