Bootstrapper’s Bookshelf: The E-Myth Revisited

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by Michael E. Gerber, available as Paperback and Audiobook.

Before I started reading the E-Myth, I thought I was equipped to run a software business. After reading the first chapter, I found myself understanding that I was equipped to build software, but not a software business. There is more to that, and Michael E. Gerber can teach you precisely what that is.

It starts with becoming aware that the entrepreneurial myth is just that: thinking you can build a technical business from having a technical skill. So many businesses fail because someone skilled at a certain thing fails at turning it into a viable business. That takes a few more things, particularly leading with vision and learning the skill of management.

You need to build a well-structured business. Gerber shows that there is a very clear-cut method to this, which he calls the Turnkey Revolution. It boils down to treating your business as if it was a franchise. Make it repeatable, build processes, build structures that allow for growth instead of impeding it.

One example we used at FeedbackPanda is the fictional Organisational Chart. Imagine how your company would look a few years in the future after it has grown to a sizeable business. Plot out the org chart of that company, every single role, and assign everyone on your current team to all of the positions. Danielle and I came up with 47 different positions we envisioned to exist in the company, and we split them between the two of us. This exercise had two great results: we knew exactly what we were responsible for and it showed us which jobs we both really didn’t want to do and had to find someone for: Taxes, bookkeeping, those kinds of things.

The second significant learning was to keep a thorough Operations Manual, resembling something that would be used in a franchise like McDonald’s. Have a process for everything that needs to be done a certain way: document thoroughly, both for other people and for your future self. Doing that allowed us to hand over our company within a day. There was no further training needed, as we had documented everything in great detail.

That is what I like so much about the E-Myth: practical advice and focus on organizational and mental structure. Gerber explains how to build a great company and keep your mind, goals, and processes well-structured. If you’re looking for a guide to clarity and a great structural foundation, read this book.

You can find more books on bootstrapping and detailed reviews on the Bookstrapper’s Bookshelf.