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on May 2, 2004
Pros: Easy read, exposes pitfalls, many helpful ideas and many paradigm shifts, excellent!
Cons: Challenging concept for my business of one. No Index.
This is an easy read that took me two days to get through. It's simple, repetitive and just the way I like it. But by no means simplistic. To me, it is well written, when the author gets their ideas across quickly and makes them seem easy. The book gets personal about the author as it tries to relate itself to the reader, yet shows a sense of writing maturity in it's simple delivery of so broad a topic. It also gets personal about you as you discover that your business is a reflection of you.
A mixture of experience and facts, blue prints and rules told in a conversational story with a semi-fictional character. This style of using a third party character to clarify and reinforce the ideas worked well with me. It helped balance and pace the lessons with a fine sense of timing and added perspective. The book is informational, motivational and even funny at times.
Gerber sets the stage by prefacing the four ideas that are the basis of the book's lessons. He identifies and compares three personalities being The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician in us and shows us how and why most businesses fail. He identifies phases of the entrepreneurial business as infancy, adolescence and maturity and the pitfalls of each. He covers six rules on how to shift from working 'in' your business to working 'on' it. And goes over the three activities to help it evolve being, Innovation, Quantification and Orchestration, systems to blueprint your business. He covers the Business Development Process and to think of how to turn it into a franchise that is a saleable Turn-Key business. He then explains the seven steps to developing your business, which he covers in detail but some didn't inspire my confidence, as they are large subjects in themselves. Like, 'Your Marketing Strategy' or Your People Strategy'. But they do develop a framework from where to start and the questions to ask yourself. He constantly helps focus us by asking excellent thought and direction provoking questions.
The book packed with many useful ideas and principles if you decide to buy into them, however is also a way for him to sell his services. By occasionally positioning his company or website as a source of answers to some of the questions the book poses is a great form of self-promotion, however they may be disguised in a story. Some thoughts that came to mind while reading were, why not just find and utilize a mentor? Success leaves clues. I struggled with the though that all businesses are started with one thing in mind and that is to sell it for a profit. The book has many paradigm shifts like this one that challenge us to look at our companies in a different light. Only when I realized that I didn't have to sell my business (If I happened to build an IBM) did I understand the idea. I'm still struggling with finding a compelling vision of how to turn my particular service business of one into a salable entity. Maybe I need to visit his website and enlist in the services he offers. Maybe I just need to find a few successful role models within my business. I will read it again in a few weeks.
I would have liked to see an index in the back to help find needed references quickly. Maybe a future publishing might get one?
A healthy experienced perspective and a plan to help build a successful business life.
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on December 18, 2006
Views from a larger company CEO Blog, April 10, 2006

I recently re-read E-Myth and E-Myth revisited by Michael Gerber ([...] His thesis is to work on the business, not in the business. He is a big believer of systematizing and documenting processes. Dumbing things down so anyone can do them.

Although the primary thrust of his books are targeted at small business (and since I started my business from 0, I am a bit of a small business person despite running the Billion dollar company), there are some gems for larger businesses as well.

It speaks to scalability. Creating a system that can grow and does not require any specific person in order to do this. Then polishing the system at every opportunity to make it better.

What I am finding in the current polishing is that the adaptability of the people is a key trait. People tend to be the barrier to new systems. The adaptable ones will thrive. Part of what I need to do is to also moderate some of the change in order not to break a good thing. Although we need to change - we also need stability. It is that balance that I seek.
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on May 10, 2016
Full of great information, though delivered in a fashion that some will find to be long-winded.

The good:
E-Myth Revisited presents some superb information on how one can position their new business for long term success. The author's core message is that entrepreneurs should commit themselves to working "on" their business to perfect its structure and systems rather than working "in" their business. To accommodate growth and best handle new staff, this approach seems ideally suited for almost any business type.

The bad:
Some readers (myself included) may be frustrated by the author's choice to embed some of his material into a story about a particular entrepreneur he worked with. I didn't think that the story added any depth to the points Gerber communicated so well otherwise.

The bottom line:
The core material deserves 5 stars, but I'm holding back one star for the narrative segments. All in all, very worth a read.
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This book deserves 7 stars for pointing out the fallacies of how most entrepreneurs operate. The book deserves 1 star for proposing a standard that most people cannot hope to meet and then pushing to sell you consulting services. Pay attention to the former, and go light on the latter.
Gerber is correct that most entrepreneurs are limited by a comfort zone of wanting to remain in control as either strong technicians or managers, which limits the potential of the business. As soon as they exceed what they can handle, the business either fails in a break-out attempt or shrinks back to a simpler state. The new businesses that succeed the most are the ones that have a business model that is easy to replicate with ordinary people.
Where Gerber goes wrong is in suggesting that many people can develop such business models. I regularly study the top 100 CEOs in the country for stock-price growth, and few of them think they can develop a new business model. Why should someone starting up a new company be likely to do better than that? They won't. In fact, I have a friend who attempted to start a new business following Gerber's principles and almost failed before he adjusted to normal operating approaches. He spent so much time developing his business model, that he never got around to operating it.
Gerber's three favorite examples are McDonald's, Disney, and Fed Ex. Notice that two of the three got most of their ideas from someone else for the business model (Ray Kroc from the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California and Fred Smith from an Indian air freight operation).
I think there is another fallacy here: You can get ordinary people to do simple things (deliver packages, cook and deliver cheap hamburgers, and smile at people on automated rides). But in many businesses the demands of the market are extraordinary such as in many technological product businesses and services. Microsoft has a business model, but it is not one that Gerber would recognize.
Finally, he condemns people who want to operate their business as a job by being technically expert. Where would we be if people never did that? What if Peter Drucker spent all of his time developing business systems to make pizzas and tacos rather than writing business books about management? What if great musicians developed business models for teaching children to play the violin and piano rather than performing? In other words, there is room and a need for extraordinarily able one-person companies run by technicians.
Skip the pitch for the consulting services at the end. You'll like the book better if you do.
But don't let my quibbles keep you as an entrepreneur from failing to appreciate the excellent case Gerber makes for having a business model as soon as possible, and working systematically to improve it. If you can do that, you may well develop a true irresistible growth enterprise.
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on June 21, 2004
It's one of those books that gives you a wake up call, although some of the sections in the book does tend to wander off into the story of other peoples lives as examples, but overall the book does wake you up, I did gain alot of perspective from the book, funnly enough I did email the e-myth website to find out if they provided any e-learning services, but no reply till today for the past 2 weeks, makes you wonder??
A must buy book for anyone getting into the business especialy for some of us that have dealt with situations where you seem to be unable to cope with all the sudden increase of business and how to deal with them, do keep in mind that this book is very down to earth, and do keep in mind that you would require some sort of business background if you ever going to be starting a business, a recommendation as a subject of choice would be accountanting so maybe an accounting abc manual would be a good reference manual in the future in addition to this book. This book is not going to save you but will for sure open your mind.
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on June 6, 2000
The E-Myth Revisited really helped me to sort out the difference between being very good at doing something and actually trying to turn that talent or skill into a business. It aptly explains why this happens and does talk about what to do about it. It delivers on the title's promise and this was valuable information for me and still worth the money I paid for it. However, while Mr. Gerber does talk about the "what" to do to systematize a business, I was still left with not understanding how to put those systems in place. Perhaps this is intentional since he makes a blatant pitch at the end of the book for using his business services to help you with your business development. From my perspective, I don't mind the pitch. He makes a living as a consultant and has every right to try to get new business. In talking with an associate of mine about E-Myth Revisted, he recommended I also buy How To Make Your Business Run Without You by Susan Carter -- although more expensive, Carter spends less time focused on what to do and more time on how to do it, which was much more valuable to me. The two books together really made a complete "from theory to implementation" library for me. I've now completely changed my perspective on what it means to be the owner of a business and how to get out from under the day-to-day tasks that prevent me from successfully growing the business. In my opinion, this book is worth your time to read it.
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on January 9, 2006
On the cover it says 'why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it'.
If you want to learn more about creating a successful business you cannot fail to learn from this book. Your attention is drawn to the distinction between working in your business and working on your business. As you work more on your business you will begin to experience the benefits of a 'turn-key' business.
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on December 31, 2009
You need to buy this book if you're a small business person or a sole practitioner or artist of any sort thinking of starting a small business. Gerber has a very important concept that is so often overlooked: to turn yourself from an artisan to a business person, you need to stop working IN your business and start working ON your business.

The best way, he says, to think of this is to imagine if you had to "franchise" your business. Is the way you're doing things systematic enough that it can be replicated all over the country? In reality, of course, the odds that you WILL franchise your business are negligible, but the same method of thinking will allow you to:

...expand your business to include more employees

...allow you to go on VACATION with a free and easy conscience

....allow someone else to pick up the slack if you fall ill.

There are some other good points in here (the value of consistency, etc.) A definite must read for the small business owner.

Having said all this, I am not really sure why Gerber "revisited" his original E-myth. If you can find a copy of the original, it was even better, lacking the superfluous "sarah" character who mars and confuses this revised edition slightly.
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on July 18, 2003
Gerber has good concepts. Work on your business, instead of working for your business. Plan and organize as if the business was a franchise prototype, to be run by anyone. He talks about strategies, from organization, to managerial, to systems. He emphasizes long term and precise planning. He emphasizes research and separate task appropriation. All good ideas that should be implemented, but nothing revolutionary or nothing that doesn't include good common sense.
However, realizing that he can't sell a pamphlet, he decides to write a book with wishy washy philosophical nonsense accompanied with dialogue between him and a supposed entrepreneurial. Since he uses exact quotes, and the language style of the entrepreneurial is exactly the same as his own, it's got to be fake. Almost insultingly so. I find it hard to believe that he taped and transcribed every meeting with "Sarah", a women who has an amazing knack of asking the most perfect and opportune questions in the same tone and style as the author.
The philosophical rants that he goes on is repetitive, dull, and often unnecessary. He just goes on and on. Then the little spiel about how you should use his service in the end makes the book feel cheap and almost like an informercial than a book.
Basically, it's all an advertisement to his service. Don't buy this book. It's a rip-off.
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on March 30, 2003
I just finished reading this book, and there are definitely very useful and applicable ideas one absorbs from it. I sometimes was very annoyed however by the "infomercial" style of writing of the author. It is very clear that Gerber wrote this book to promote his company's business.
The main idea of this book is that all businesses needs to decide on and document how everything is done, so ideally the business would run like a machine, a "money-making machine" as Gerber likes to call it. Gerber tries to cover all business processes in this book, from Marketing to employee motivation. I found that all chapters except Ch. 16 ("Your People Strategy") had excellent and practical ideas. Ch. 16 I thought poorly discussed practical ways of keeping your employees motivated, Gerber basically says make your business look like a game to them but does not give practical examples on how to do that. Nevertheless, the books is worth the read and you should always remember that it will only be useful to you if you act and implement the ideas discussed.
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