One of my first jobs in marketing was as a research analyst at a firm of management consultants. The owner of the consultancy was so enamored with The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber, that it was virtually his guidebook for most business situations and a blueprint for advising clients. What I learned there has stayed with me and years later it still remains a key text for how I approach my business as a realtor.
Quite simply, the 'E-myth' of the title is the 'entrepreneurial' myth: people may be very good at what they do - baking cakes or filing tax returns - but they may not be so skilled in all of the other tasks and abilities required of an entrepreneur. Gerber believes that a majority of people set up a business, and enter self-employment, more because they wish to make a job for themselves, rather than because they are enterprising and possess the vision and skills of the entrepreneur.
The baker, for example, may be highly skilled at making confectionery and quality baked goods, but they may not understand basic accounting or marketing. In this respect Gerber distinguished the 'technician' - someone who is highly proficient in a particular activity - from the entrepreneur, who has the vision and the creativity to lead and develop a business.
Gerber believes that one of the fundamental mistakes that the skilled technician makes is that they are too busy working 'in the business', rather than working 'on the business', which is what will deliver its long term survival. By which he means, the baker might be so busy fulfilling orders to existing clients that she fails to go out and find new customers. And this is such a common story among new businesses: they are simply too busy working in the business and they go under when they loose a key client, or, when, despite paper profits, they hit cash flow issues and are unable to pay their bills.
As a realtor, and an independent business owner, I know that I need to ensure that I do all of the things that a successful realtor does to keep my clients happy: accompanying showings, holding open houses, negotiating sales, advising buyers, etc. But I am also aware that I need to have a clear entrepreneurial vision for my business and where I want it to be in 3 or 5 years time. Making sure that I am out in the community networking, or working on my marketing activities, and balancing the books - all of these things are also the skills of a successful entrepreneur and realtor.
While some have questioned the continued relevance of the simple message of the E-Myth - particularly with the lower costs of social media marketing or the availability of cost-effective cloud-based accounting, to give just two examples - I believe that the basic premise of Gerber's book is still sound. Anyone setting up a business today still needs to work upon those entrepreneurial skills alongside their technical abilities, so that their business flourishes, for the benefit of their clients, their family, and for the benefit of the community.
As such, I am always learning and looking for ways to further develop my business and this, for me, this is a key lesson of the E-Myth.hil
Who do you know who needs help in either buying or selling property today?
I have a passion for real estate, whether you are selling your own home, or you are looking for your next one - let me be the one who guides you through the process and takes the strain, so you don't feel the pain.
Picture Credit: Child Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand 50 Cents Each Qiqi Lourdie June 24, 2011 by Stephen Depolo at: https://flic.kr/p/a3Pdjy