By Phil Canipe
Imagine yourself at the heart of a good story. You’re on a long journey. You’ve come a great distance. You’re fighting, clawing, inching toward your goal. You’re at a point when you feel like you might be actually doing something noble; the stuff legends are made of. And for a long time, you’ve done alright battling your antagonists. But after a while, you begin to grow weary. The days are long and the nights are cold. Your goal is slipping away and you question everything. Worst of all, you are begin to lose hope. This is the life of an entrepreneur.
Contrary to public opinion, our lives often look more like long days and cold nights than they do noble and legendary. This is why I read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited. The E-Myth, or the myth of an entrepreneur, is about what life is really like for small business owners. We’re not always battling giants or slaying dragons, but we are trying to balance the budget, serve customers, meet sales goals, pay purchase orders, manage human resources, and the list goes on.
The problem, according to Gerber, has very little to do with the fact that all of the aforementioned tasks are being done at the same time. No, the problem is that they are all being done by the same person. Let’s go back to our story. Only this time, imagine it is being directed by David Fincher from Fight Club. As it turns out, in a mighty David Fincher-like way, the protagonist and the antagonist are actually the same person. And with devastatingly good story writing, your mind is blown.
Gerber highlights that every business has three operators: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. As the owner, you are the entrepreneur. You’re the visionary—the sails to the organization. You are the dreams behind your business. You provide direction to the manager by saying, “This is where we’re going. And this is how we’re going to do it.” The manager then takes the vision of the entrepreneur and puts it into practice. Without the manager, your business wouldn’t have the ability to function. If the entrepreneur is the sails, the manager is the hull. And finally, the technician is the one who gets the work done in order for your business to make money. He is the one who serves the guests and who the manager relies on to keep customers happy. Unfortunately, most small business owners try to be all three operators at once. And the results are often crushing.
This is why Gerber’s book is such a powerful read. It not only identifies the core differences between the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician; it also underlines effective ways to separate them. If you’re like me, you’ll find The E-Myth Revisited to be a foundational resource for your business. It has changed the way I do things. It helped me understand why I do what I do and how I can make it better. It gave me perspective. In short, it changed my life. I hope it does the same for you.
Phil Canipe is the Aire-Master of Charleston franchisee.