As usual I am late to the party. For a couple of years I have heard about the E-Myth, but didn't think I needed to know about it. Well, I was wrong. Architects (everybody) need to know about this concept because if you are anything like me you will live or have lived it. (Near the end, below, I have some ideas about how individuals can use this concept.)
BTW the first reason that I think Architectural Firms Are Small is here.
I tend to collect pieces of information in Pocket or Evernote for perusal later, so I don't know exactly where I came across the book summary that I bought, downloaded and read about Michael E. Gerber’s 'E-Myth Revisited'.
In a nutshell Michael E. Gerber describes how working IN your firm instead of ON your firm is a recipe for failure. But most importantly he describes what you SHOULD be doing. I know he is right because my firm could have been the poster child for his book.
You need to know that E-Myth stands for Entrepreneurial Myth. The myth is that, if you are good at something, that is all you need to start your own firm and be a success. (Yep, I thought that.)
The problem is that in the beginning that is true, but once you have some success you find you can't do it all and you bring on more people to help. Now you have to manage the firm instead of just doing what you love and are good at. (Yep, I did that.)
If this new phase doesn't kill you or your firm, then you have a choice to make - muddle along trying to get better at managing, shrink back to where it was fun, or get bigger so you can buy management expertise. (I chose get bigger, and I got to 12 people.)
The problem that all of us face is that getting bigger takes a lot of really hard work. If you don't know what you are doing, the hard work isn't enough. You just have a bigger poorly managed firm with inconsistent results or consistent results that are unprofitable because you have to pour extra time into them.(Yep, I got consistent but unprofitable results.)
The solution, if you choose to grow, is a simple concept. Build your firm like it is a franchise prototype that you will replicate all over the U.S. Even if you have no intention of doing that. The ramifications of this approach is that you have to document how everything is to be done so that the most inexperienced people can produce the best results. In other words you have to "bake" your personal procedures into the firm. (If I knew this in 2000, I would not be retired today.)
The book is a must-read for anyone who owns or aspires to own a firm. I think this model can make any firm that implements it an enduring success. In contrast we architects are presented with the ’starchitect’ model. Very few starchitects endure more than a decade or so. And that model doesn't come with a detailed recipe for success either.
Although the concept is presented as a guide for firms, I think individuals can take a lesson from the concept, too. Very few of us are content with the job we have if we aren't the boss. We want to rise through the ranks, climb the corporate ladder. Well, chances are excellent that your employer does not follow Michael E. Gerber’s advise. If you, nevertheless, document the best way to do your job, you will have just demonstrated that you are more capable than just doing your job. Even if this doesn't get you promoted, because some might be threatened by your capability, it can still be a stepping stone. One of my clients used this technique of demonstrating that she was more than her current job to rise to president of an international company. So whether you're in a position to grow a firm or just yourself, there is plenty to learn from the E-Myth Revisited.
Here are some resources for pursuing this idea. I recommend the book summary.
iBooks for the E-Myth Revisited book
iBooks for E-Myth Revisited Book Summary by BusinessNews Publishing
Amazon for paperback or Kindle editions of the E-Myth Revisited book
Amazon for E-Myth Revisited Book Summary by BusinessNews Publishing
Here is a related video I find helpful when dealing with big picture issues.
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