The E-Myth

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work

And What To Do About It

(author Michael E. Gerber)

Book Review By

Being an avid reader of business books I am surprised I had never heard of The E-Myth book by Michael E. Gerber.

The reason, I suppose, is that I always worked for larger companies where we read lots of business books, but not those targeted for business owners.

It wasn't until I started meeting successful small business owners that I heard of Michael Gerber and The E-Myth.

The E-Myth is so well accepted by the entrepreneurs that during lunch with my entrepreneur friend and a few of his small business owner friends, they looked at me like I was an idiot for not knowing about The E-Myth.

E-Myth was not required reading in large companies, even where we had a "book of the week" culture, where, if you hadn't read the latest business book you would be left out of the conversations that week.

But when it comes to people who start businesses of their own, they swear by it.

What is it that makes Gerber's book and methods so important to those people who own their own businesses?  Quite simply, he has figured out why 40% of small business fail in the first year, and why over 80% fail before year five, and what you can do about it.

Michael E. Gerber consulted for small businesses for over 15 years before he first wrote The E-Myth. Since then he has put in another 15 years helping even more small business owners.  The latest revision of his book includes lessons from those years. 

Gerber figured out why most small businesses do not succeed and he has developed a time tested recipe and process that will help those who own their own businesses succeed.

Gerber's The E-Myth is available from Amazon The E-Myth - soft cover and The E-Myth - Audio Book - CD .

I bought both and put the CD into my iPod so I could listen in the car.

Why Most Small Businesses Owners Fail

Anyone who has started their own business will relate to this.  If you are like me the light bulb goes on and you say, yes, now I understand.

Michael Gerber explains that within every small business owner there are three conflicting personalities (roles) and if you do not keep them in balance and under your control you will crash and burn and it will be painful.

I will attempt to give you a sense of what Gerber discusses, and I apologize for not covering this as well as he does.

The Entrepreneur in You

Do you remember the first moment when you had  a vision of what your business could be?  That was the entrepreneur in you.  It's future focused.  It sees millions of opportunities. 

You need the entrepreneur, but if it dominates, you will always be focused on the future and you will ignore today.  Nothing will get done. 

If you have employees they will go crazy trying to keep up with your ever changing focus. Yet you do need the entrepreneur in you.

The Manager in You

The manager in you is the person who is always organizing and putting things in their right place.  The manager makes sure the book keeping is done, the shelves are stocked, the floor is swept and the taxes get paid on time.

If the manager dominates your very well organized, very disciplined business will go out of business.  But at least it will do so in a very neat and orderly way.

The Technician in You

Ah, I love this part.  This is where the light bulb went on for me.

The technician in you is the one who thrives on doing the work.  Whether it's baking pies, writing software, building a house, cutting hair, or writing a book, it's the technician in you that does the work you love to do.

It was for the technician in you that you gave up your day job so you could do the work you love.  You wanted to do the work you love all day long without interruption from the boss.

Only problem is that if the technician in you dominates the business, a lot of really critical work won't get done, and pretty soon you will have so much pressure because the business is sinking that you will pile on more and more work, hoping it will save the day.  Technicians burry themselves in work.  The solution to most problems is to work more.

Eventually if you don't do something, you will start to hate the work you once loved.

So What Is The Solution

Why spoil it for you?  Michael Gerber does have a solution.  He has been helping small business owners for almost 30 years.  He has it figured out.  So read the book or listen to his CDs.


Best of luck.  I hope owning your own business brings you success and happiness.