E Myth Mastery by Michael Gerber
I was going to review his new book "Awakening The Entrepreneur Within" (link takes you to my review on my Business Books blog) but after reading it, I have realised that Michael Gerber is on a voyage and I can't comment on the new book until I have explained my thoughts about "E Myth Mastery."
The E Myth Story So Far
In "The E Myth Revisited" Michael Gerber explains why most small businesses don't work as they should.
Most businesses start when someone who is working in a business has an entrepreneurial seizure and says "This is crazy. I shouldn't be working for him. I know more about doing the real work than him but he goes home with the profit, lives in the big house and drives the fancy car. I can do that."
Unfortunately the person is a technician and knows exactly how to do the work of a technician but little about the work of a manager controlling the business and managing the team and nothing about the business building skills needed to be an entrepreneur.
The technician finds a few customers but carries on preferring to do the technician's work being is busy, busy, busy with the work of the other roles piled on top but never getting done to the right level.
It's a classic case of being too busy working IN the business to work ON the business.
Lets press on with my "E Myth Mastery" review.
Meet Sarah From All About Pies
E Myth Mastery starts with Sarah, the role model from "The E Myth Revisited", ten years after her business had been transformed.
The only problem is that her business hadn't been transformed because Sarah hadn't been changed. She was still a small business owner at heart and not an entrepreneur with a compelling vision.
E Myth Mastery Suffers From Sickly, Syrupy Writing
Many parts of this E Myth Mastery book are excellent and I have given copies to clients and recommended that others buy it.
I must warn you that the biggest drawback is the sickly writing style which makes the audio version of "E Myth Mastery" completely unlistenable without a bucket close by. Avoid it even if it's in a charity shop for a pound.
Michael Gerber seems to think that he is Barbara Cartland writing bad romantic fiction. To make my point I opened the book at random and found this on the first page I tried (page 71).
"Her face was bright, flush with life, her eyes clear and excited, her smile beaming. We hugged each other like old, old friends do, and spoke each other's names..."
There is no place for this nonsense in any business book that intends to be taken seriously as much of E Myth Mastery deserves to be.
Unless you want more of this rubbish do not buy the E Myth Mastery audio program because you even miss out on the compensating good stuff.
I suspect that many copies have been bought by people who loved "The E Myth Revisited" and they just haven't made it through to where "E Myth Mastery" does provide great value.
E Myth Mastery And The Seven Disciplines
The good stuff is that Michael Gerber draws on the Seven Disciplines covered in the full E Myth Mastery business coaching program.
This E Myth course costs thousands of dollars for businesses to work through with an E Myth coach. I know because I am one of the many people who have bought it and whilst you don't get it all, you do get a surprising amount.
The seven E Myth Mastery disciplines are:
- Enterprise leader
- Marketing leader
- Financial leader
- Management leader
- Client fulfilment leader
- Lead conversion leader
- Lead generation leader
You get the actual text from a selection of the E Myth Mastery workbooks together with details of a website where you can download the E Myth form templates to work through.
While I may not agree with everything written in E Myth Mastery, what you do get is outstanding provided you are prepared to work through it.
Michael Gerber believes in systemisation and letting the system carry the strain so that the coaching can be done by less experienced employees. This effectively means The E Myth Mastery system helps and encourages the business owner to find their own answers across the seven disciplines.
There is plenty of general business theory which you will see as I describe each discipline in more detail.
The E Myth Enterprise Leader
The real E Myth Mastery book starts on page 71 although there are one or two nuggets of enlightenment within the opening section which makes it worth quickly scanning.
It also sets the scene as the conversation / love-in with Sarah continues throughout the book to introduce each new discipline. Unfortunately the syrupy text is difficult to avoid unless you ruthlessly skip sections.
The "E Myth Mastery" book introduces you to the five essential skills of leadership:
- Innovation and
which I can't argue with.
The Business Plan That Always Works
The E Myth business plan is a heart centred plan based on fulfilling a meaningful vision rather than the head based logic of what you think your financial backers need to see.
There is a lot of sense here which echoes my own views that too many business plans are not worth the paper they are written on, let alone the hours spent preparing and reviewing them.
Pillar 2 of my Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity starts with your vision and moves it down to how you are going to spend your time taking action.
No arguments from me here either. Your Key Numbers is pillar 1 of my Eight Pillars.
If you want to improve and achieve, you have to know where you are starting from and how you are performing as you try new things.
The E Myth Marketing Leader
Pillar 3 of my Eight Pillars is your marketing position in the competitive world and the discipline of the marketing leader looks at the same issues.
Your Most Probable Customer
You get introduced to customer demographics - who, what, where - all essential to know if you are going to correctly target your most likely customers.
Customer Perceptions and Behaviour
This one section is worth at least five times the price of the book and the main reason why I spend all that money on the E Myth Mastery program. I hoped to learn more but it's all here for you in the E Myth Mastery book along with the worksheets.
This section introduces you to the idea of understanding how your customers think and make decisions - the art and science of psychographics.
I have been fascinated by the idea of how customers make buying decisions and weigh up the value they receive from buying and compare it against the price they pay for more than ten years. While I have read much about customer value, this was the first time that the term psychographics entered my brain and stayed there.
As I expand my thoughts about being a customer focused entrepreneur you can expect much more on this blog about this subject but the E Myth Mastery book is a superb introduction.
I have been reading marketing books for over twenty years and achieved a distinction in my MBA because I was a swot and love reading about business. I have never seen the logical/emotional parts of the purchase decision better or more comprehensively explained.
In fact the marketing books tend to emphasise the rational side of the decision, perhaps because it is an academic subject and perhaps because logic can be measured.
It is only in the sales training books and audios that I have found the idea that customers buy emotionally.
The basic explanation of the conversation that goes on in your brain included here in E Myth Mastery is excellent although I do have some reservations with where Michael Gerber takes it.
There are some profound issues and in trying to systematise, you can lose some of the subtle nuances which make all the difference.
Basically there are various influences on the unconscious mind like people's perceptions of themselves and their situation. It defines their reality which when combined with their motivations and drives goes a long way to explaining their behaviour.
The buying decision itself is a conversation between their gratification preference (emotional desires going straight to the subconscious) and their purchase preference (logical justifications for the purchase) which are bounded by subconscious associations.
This really is great material in E Myth Mastery if you want to spend a few hours trying to put yourself in the shoes of your typical customers and try and work out how they think and look at the world.
If you can't be bothered then it won't appeal to you as much but the more you try to understand, the more you confirm your theories through observation and conversation.
The more you actually understand about your customers and the way they think and act, the more your marketing campaigns cut through the clutter like a laser beam and that means better results for lower cost.
Positioning and Differentiating Your Business
As any business student will tell you, the more you differentiate your business away from your competitors in ways that customers value, the more successful your business will be.
Again the contents of this section in E Myth Mastery are great.
The E Myth Financial Leader
I found this section of the book interesting from two aspects
- By qualification I am a chartered accountant so I find money issues easy so it was fascinating to read the insights about how many business owners fear dealing with money issues because it all seems so complicated and intimidating.
- Michael Gerber was in financial trouble. He has told this story before in "The Power Point" but the business that became E Myth Worldwide effectively over-traded. They thought they were doing well. The top line was growing but the cash position was desperate and at one stage it looked like the business may have collapsed.
If you feel intimidated by money and the idea of talking to your accountant and/or bank manager, then I am sure that this chapter will resonate. You will find comfort that even a business great like Michael Gerber has struggled with financial control.
Getting You On the Right Path
An explanation of the financial model of the business is provided including some pricing calculations.
Critical cash control ideas.
I wrap all this up in my Pillar 1 on Key Numbers.
The E Myth Management Leader
This section of the book looks at managing the internal affairs of the business.
Creating A High Performance Environment
Michael Gerber explains how to build the culture of the business to achieve your vision the E Myth way, starting with self management.
I pick these issues up in Pillar 7 about leading your team together with the self management issues in Pillar 2 from vision to action.
One of the ideas that Michael Gerber is most famous for is systematising the business and creating a franchise prototype, even if you have no intention of franchising.
In this section he explains how to set up your operations manual.
This comes through in my Pillar 8 systematising your business.
The E Myth Client Fulfilment Leader
This is effectively your operations and how you meet the promises made to your customer before they decided to buy.
Your Client Fulfilment Baseline
This is back to knowing your key numbers for your business processes connected with client fulfilment.
There are basically three processes:
- The production process
- The delivery process
- The customer service process
If you buy rather than make, your purchasing process would be your production process - how you actually obtain what you sell.
The delivery transfers the value to the customer which is easy to understand for physical goods. For services, production and delivery may be combined eg in a hairdressing business, the customer receives the service at exactly the same time as the hairdresser provides it.
The client service process is everything you do above the bare minimum of producing and delivering.
I pick these key steps in my Pillar 6 turning one time buyers into repeat buyers since they are critically involved with customer service, making sure that promises made in the sales and marketing stages are kept together with Pillar 8 on systemisation.
Michael Gerber walks you through the E Myth systems improvement process. You may find it very basic if you have been involved in big process improvement projects but it could be a revelation if you haven't seen any systematic process improvement methods.
Pillar 8 again for me, systematising your business also includes improving the underlying processes and their improvement.
The E Myth Lead Conversion Leader
This section of the book looks at converting leads and enquiries into orders.
This is basically the selling process.
Marketing has produced a lead from your advertising, your direct mail, your website... but the prospect hasn't bought anything yet. Lead conversion takes you through a nice simple generic consultative selling system. No complaints there from me.
In my approach, lead conversion is the focus of Pillar 5.
This deals with the persuading one-time customers to buy again by developing great relationships.
My pillar 6 here, increasing the lifetime value of the customer covers the same ground.
The E Myth Lead Generation Leader
This is effectively marketing which has two elements - the media or communication method and the marketing message.
Channels reaching your target market
To buy from you, your customers have to know that you exist so in this chapter Michael Gerber looks at the different ways of reaching your target customers based on where they are and what they do.
Application of Lead Generation Principles
In this section, Michael Gerber explains very concisely how you can get your message across in a ten step process.
This section on lead generation is wrapped up in my Pillar 4 on Lead Generation.
Conclusion on E Myth Master by Michael Gerber
As I have worked my way through the E Myth Mastery book I have shown you how the Mastery program fits with my Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity.
Since both are designed to be comprehensive approaches to business development it is no surprise that there is a large amount of overlap.
You will have seen that while the order and the way the components fit together is different.
I have a preference for getting orders flowing in to make more money although it does depend on the initial assessment of the business. Michael Gerber and the E Myth Mastery program is more regimented and wants to fix the business first before reaching out to more potential customers.
Because we seem to agree on so much you can understand why I like the core of the book and why I am happy to recommend the book to clients and prospects to help them see a different perspective.
"E Myth Mastery" by Michael Gerber is a great resource for any small business owner looking to improve their business. It is not the whole story and effectively serves as a long lead generation technique for the full E Myth Mastery program.
If you are unfamiliar with the E Myth ideas I would buy "The E Myth Revisited" book first because it helps to set the scene.
"E Myth Mastery" is a much more practical book, especially when you download the worksheets from the website.
I can't forgive it for the sugary text that is just too sickly for words and the book is docked one star from the five stars that I would have given it - so that is a four star rating from me.
The "E Myth Mastery" book is highly recommended.
Just grit your teeth, pour yourself a brandy to settle your stomach, skim read the first section and the introductory sections for each of the seven disciplines and start learning how you can build a world class company from Michael Gerber.
If you check the dotcom reviews you will see that the E Myth Mastery is certainly polarising opinions with 11 five star ratings and 11 one star ratings.
Awakening the Entrepreneur Within
If you are wondering about my review of the next book by Michael Gerber, here is the link Awakening The Entrepreneur Within (review is on my Business Books blog).
Unfortunately everything bad about "E Myth Mastery" is exaggerated in the new book but without the high quality content. On a kind day, I gave it two stars.