- PDF eBook: 268 pages
- Author: Michael E. Gerber
- Published: 2009
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
From the book’s Introduction:
If you own a small business, or if you want to own a small business, this book was written for you. It represents many thousands of hours of work we have done at E-Myth Worldwide over the past twenty-four years. It illustrates a belief, created and supported by the experiences we have had with the thousands of small business owners with whom we’ve worked. It is a belief that says small businesses in the United States simply do not work; the people who own them do. And what we have also discovered is that the people who own small businesses in this country work fax more than they should for the return they’re getting.
Indeed, the problem is not that the owners of small businesses in this country don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work. As a result, most of their businesses end up in chaos— unmanageable, unpredictable, and unrewarding. Just look at the numbers. Businesses start and fail in the United States at an increasingly staggering rate. Every year, over a million people in this country start a business of some sort. Statistics tell us that by the end of the first year at least 40 percent of them will be out of business.1 Within five years, more than 80 percent of them—800,000—will have failed.
And the rest of the bad news is, if you own a small business that has managed to survive for five years or more, don’t breathe a sigh of relief. Because more than 80 percent of the small businesses that survive the first five years fail in the second five. Why is this? Why do so many people go into business, only to fail? What lesson aren’t they learning? Why is it that with all the information available today on how to be successful in small business, so few people really are? This book answers those questions. It’s about four profound ideas, which, if you understand and take them to heart, will give you the power to create an extraordinarily exciting, and personally rewarding, small business.
Ignore them, and you will likely join the hundreds of thousands of people every year who pour their energy and capital—and life—into starting a small business and fail, or the many others who struggle along for years simply trying to survive.
IDEA #1 There is a myth in this country—I call it the E-Myth— which says that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs risking capital to make a profit. This is simply not so. The real reasons people start businesses have little to do with entrepreneurship. In fact, this belief in the Entrepreneurial Myth is the most important factor in the devastating rate of small business failure today. Understanding the E-Myth, and applying that understanding to the creation and development of a small business, can be the secret to any business’s success.
IDEA #2 There’s a revolution going on today in American small business. I call it the Turn-Key Revolution. Not only is it changing the way we do business in this country and throughout the world but it is changing who goes into business, how they do it, and the likelihood of their survival.
IDEA #3 At the heart of the Turn-Key Revolution is a dynamic process we at E-Myth Worldwide call the Business Development Process. When it is systematized and applied purposely by a small business owner, the Business Development Process has the power to transform any small business into an incredibly effective organization. Our experience has shown us that when a small business incorporates this process into its every activity and uses it to control its destiny, that company stays young and thrives. When a small business ignores this process—as most unfortunately do—it commits itself to Management by Luck, stagnation, and, ultimately, failure. The consequences are inevitable.
IDEA #4 The Business Development Process can be systematically applied by any small business owner in a step-by-step method that incorporates the lessons of the Turn-Key Devolution in the operation of that business. This process then becomes a predictable way to produce results and vitality in any small business whose owner is willing to give it the time and attention it requires to flourish. Since the founding of E-Myth Worldwide in 1977, we have assisted over 25,000 small business owners with the implementation of our Business Development Process through their enrollment in our unique E-Myth Mastery ProgramTM, and I have seen it succeed thousands of times.
I would venture to guess that no organization has had more direct experience applying the lessons of the Turn-Key Revolution and the Business Development Process to the development of a small business than we have had at E-Myth Worldwide. And, while the process is no “magic bullet” and does require hard work, it is always gratifying work and the only work I know that will give you the level of control you need to get what you want from your small business. Indeed, it will change your business and it will change your life.
This book, then, is about producing results—not simply “how to do it.” Because both of us know that books like that don’t work. People do. And what makes people work is an idea worth working for, along with a clear understanding of what needs to be done. It is only when such an idea becomes firmly integrated into the way you think and operate your business that “how to do it” becomes meaningful. This book is about such an idea—an idea that says your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are.
If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving you less and less of themselves and always asking for more. If your information about what needs to be done in your business is limited, your business will reflect that limitation. So if your business is to change—as it must continuously to thrive—you must change first. If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.
The first change that needs to take place has to do with your idea of what a business really is and what it takes to make one work. Once you fully understand the relationship every owner must have with his or her business if it is to work, I can assure you that your business and your life will take on new vitality and new meaning. You’ll know why so many people fail to get what they want from a business of their own. You’ll see the almost magical opportunities available to anyone who starts a small business in the right way, with a true understanding, with the necessary tools. I’ve seen it happen thousands of times, in every kind of business imaginable, with people who knew nothing about business when they started.
My wish is that by the time you are through reading this book, it will have started to happen to you.