I went to Half Price Books the other day looking for a copy of The E-Myth Revisited, a book that’s been on my “to read” list for a long time. I arrived at the store, headed for the business books, found the Entrepreneurship bookshelf and started skimming. Sure enough, they had it! And then it caught my eye. Sitting on the shelf next to the book that warranted the excursion was another similarly titled book by the same author:
How do you like that? Here I am, at the bookstore, with an idea that I’d like to turn into a thriving business. It must be destiny. So I purchased it and we left the store before Megan had a chance to grab her usual armful of books. (Just because they’re half price doesn’t mean we should buy twice as much!)
Over the past week, I devoured the contents of the book. I didn’t just read it; I underlined it and made margin notes. Then I turned those into notes on a separate notepad. Then I typed the notes. Then I reformatted my notes into a blog post. Yes, the very post you are reading right now.
Epiphany #1: A Business Must Be Designed, Invented
It’s right there in the introduction, as if it’s something I should have already known. And once I realized it, that fact does seem pretty obvious.
When you design a company, you design it visually, emotionally, functionally, and financially.
Epiphany #2: Business is Hard
Again, this should come as no surprise. Everybody knows that most businesses fail. I’ve even witnessed a few do so, and they failed for very different reasons. In fact there are many ways a business can fail, and very few ways a business can succeed. To help out would-be entrepreneurs like myself, he gives some great encouragement with statements like
…how do you provide an answer to a question that you know has no answer? …that’s the game called business.
…a free market system provides all of us with significantly more opportunity to fail than to succeed.
Yeah, he just barely comes short of directly telling me I will fail. Ok, well how about something constructive?
Epiphany #3: It’s About More than Customers
Sure customers are important, but if you build your business on the principle that the customer is always right, you’re going to upset a lot of people that you don’t want to upset. Those people are your employees, your vendors, and your financial backers. A business must be designed with customers and these other three groups in mind. If a business is serving all four groups, it has a chance at success.
There is so much in this book including the five essential skills of an E-Myth Entrepreneur (concentration, discrimination, organization, innovation, communication) and the four categories of preference that an E-Myth Enterprise must be aware of (visual, emotional, functional, financial). There’s a lot to be said about all of these, and maybe some will be the subject of future posts, but I don’t want to end up reprinting the whole book here. If you want to know more, go buy it. It’s a quick read, but it’s packed full of goodies.
In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of design work ahead of me.