“Given the right circumstances, from no more than dreams, determination, and the liberty to try, quite ordinary people consistently do extraordinary things.”
From Birth of the Chaordic Age, by Dee Hock
World class” is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “being of the highest caliber in the world.”
When you see a world class car, you know it instantly.
When you hear a world class musician, you know her instantly.
When you see a world class athlete, you know him instantly.
So it is with a World Class Company. There is absolutely no doubt.
The World Class Company looks, feels, and performs better than any other.
This book is about how to build one.
This book is not about survival.
It is not about getting through the day.
It is not about maintenance or eliminating frustrations or solving the day-to-day problems that make up the ordinary day-to-day experience of an ordinary person in an ordinary kind of company.
This book is about the extraordinary.
If you’re committed to the extraordinary, read on.
The first and most important commitment to the extraordinary is personal. A true E-Myth entrepreneur on her way to building a World Class Company is committed to seeing herself as she really is, as opposed to how she wishes she were. To seeing the fears that inhibit her, the passions that consume her, the passivity that rules her, the things she avoids doing as much as the things she insists upon doing, the barriers to growth that keep her from growing and, as certainly, keep her company from growing. An E-Myth entrepreneur is also committed to understanding her gifts, all of the wonderful characteristics that live inside of her, whatever they may be, beyond the optimism, focused passion, willingness to take risks, perseverance, and discipline that are common to all. In short, to achieve Mastery one must achieve Clarity. And to achieve clarity, most often requires an outside influence, someone who can pull you out of yourself so that you can more readily see yourself, someone who can challenge your assumptions, your beliefs, the habits that determine what you do in reaction to what happens to you, the opinions you hold, the walls you set up to keep your life comfortable, unthreatened, unchallenged. It is hard to see ourselves without the eyes of another. A coach, a confidant, a mentor, a teacher. No world class entrepreneur has ever done anything on her own. She always surrounds herself with people who know more than she does, with people who are as good at what they do as she is at what she does, people who are committed to her growth and her vision, people who are inspired and inspiring, people who are so committed to engaging with life in a world class way that they never let the people who depend upon them play anything less than a world class game, people who are trustworthy and demand the same from the people they serve, people who accept nothing less than optimal results.
Building a World Class Company calls for a world class commitment to your own personal growth.
And now we begin our journey together to find the entrepreneur, who he is, how he thinks, what he does, how he does it, how he moves mountains to make his dreams come true. Mountains on the inside of him, and mountains on the outside of him. Mountains of his imagination, and mountains with a stark overwhelming reality to them. What do mountains ask of the one who is determined to climb them? What preparation is in order? What role does your guide play in all this? How strong of mind and spirit does the one who would climb mountains truly need to be? You and I are going to ask all of these questions, over and over again. We will answer them, and then throw away those answers. We will discuss the harsh reality of them, and you will begin to understand them to be metaphors for something even bigger than the mountains we have set out to climb. Much bigger.
Tragically, few of the people who start their own business think like entrepreneurs, act like entrepreneurs, dream like entrepreneurs, or succeed and fail like entrepreneurs. Even more tragically, this is a crime against their very own nature. Most small business owners spend their entire small business journey in the foothills without ever starting to climb. And what’s worse, they never realize what they’ve done.
By the time we’re done with our journey, you will have learned, through your own experience, not only what entrepreneurship is, but what it is to you, what it is for you to take on the mantle of a true entrepreneur by doing work only true entrepreneurs do.
You will learn how to build a World Class Company.
You will learn how to create the extraordinary.
You will learn how to find magic inside of yourself, the kind entrepreneurs are famous for, and how to tempt it out. And then, how to be gentle with it, love it, nurture it, play with it, coerce it, cajole it, massage it, console it, cry with it, and be firm with it.
All of this, dear reader, you have inside of you. No matter who you think you are, no matter how you think you ought to think, this book can provide you with a completely new perspective on your life, and the business or businesses you create as you live it.
You will discover that entrepreneurship is not a trait, quality, or characteristic possessed by a rare and special few. It belongs to each and every one of us. It lives inside us all. It is a legacy, a birthright, which we are free to nourish or ignore, to claim or reject, to pursue or avoid, to develop or not, so help us God.
Entrepreneurship is, first of all, the power to create.
But creation is not something that you do.
Creation is something that is done through you.
Creation is like music. My saxophone teacher, Merle Johnston, used to say to me, “Michael, you don’t make music. Music finds you. Your job is to practice to get yourself ready.”
Likewise, your job is not to become an entrepreneur. It is not to create.
Your job is to commit to the process of becoming an entrepreneur and then to practice what entrepreneurs do so that entrepreneurship can find you when you’ve practiced enough to be ready.
Commitment and practice. Commitment and practice.
Because, just as I found the power to create music through the practice of music, you can find the power to create a World Class Company through the practice of entrepreneurship.
Understand, the power to create a World Class Company doesn’t come from the practice. It comes from deep down within you. It’s a calling, a potentiality; it’s ineffable, unexplainable, and enormously exciting. It comes from your connection to your passion. Practice, I believe, is your signal to the power—to the passion—that you have taken it seriously. That you are committed. That you are earnest about the gift the passion will bestow on you. How do you know it will? Commit and you’ll discover the trust over time. And even
when you’re completely unsure, as I’m certain many of you reading this are, even as I’m speaking to you, there’s a knowingness in you, isn’t there? That somehow you just know that entrepreneurship is your calling.
Unfortunately, the calling is insufficient on its own. Unless you commit to the practice of entrepreneurship, unless you get down to the study and the form and the skill-set of entrepreneurship, it is most likely that your entrepreneurial calling will turn into a nightmare of unbelievable proportions. You will be completely unprepared for what you are called to do.
I know. Because I’ve lived through that nightmare. I know because the coaches in my company have lived through countless nightmares with their clients. Nightmares about running out of money. Nightmares about losing an absolutely essential account. Nightmares about losing their marriage, or a significant relationship, or their kids, about not knowing what to do next as a catastrophe sits there on their doorstep just waiting to happen. I know about nightmares. And I know the toll they take on people who have been taken by the impulse to start a small business only to find out too late that they were completely unprepared for what it demanded of them. Nightmares are sweaty, painful, fearful, monstrous. They take your breath away. They put a bleak, flat, and hopeless face on reality that destroys any urge we might have had to create, to build a successful business.
That’s why this book is so important to me. The terrible truth is that small businesses are killing most of the people who create and operate them. We all know the statistics. Most small businesses fail. And the vast majority of the rest are just dying a slow death. And it doesn’t have to be that way. First, you need a different perspective.
What we call the E-Myth point of view.
If you’ve already read one of my E-Myth books, you probably have already verified in your experience what I’m about to share with you.
If this book is your first E-Myth experience, then it’s important for you to know that the E-Myth point of view is the foundation for everything else in this book.
The E-Myth point of view is the essence of E-Myth Mastery.
It is the foundation for building a World Class Company.
The E-Myth point of view explains why most small businesses fail, and what the most successful ones do.
The E-Myth is the entrepreneurial myth.
The E-Myth says that most businesses fail because they are not founded by entrepreneurs, but by technicians, suffering from “an entrepreneurial seizure.”
A carpenter finds herself possessed by the urge to start her own business, becomes a contractor, and then goes to work, doing it, doing it, doing it.
A hair stylist finds herself compelled to start her own business, opens a hair salon, and then goes to work, doing it, doing it, doing it.
An attorney finds himself possessed by the need to start his own business, forms his own law practice, and then goes to work, doing it, doing it, doing it.
A cook is taken by the impulse to start his own business, opens his own restaurant, and then goes to work, doing it, doing it, doing it.
The E-Myth says that all of these technicians, anyone who does technical work of whatever kind, make the same, fatal assumption: that because they understand how to do the technical work of their business—building a house, cutting hair, practicing law, cooking food—they understand how to build a business that does that work.
Untrue, says the E-Myth.
Untrue, untrue, untrue.
The truth is that knowing how to do the work of a business has nothing to do with building a business that works.
Failing to understand and appreciate, deeply, the difference between an entrepreneurial perspective and the perspective of a technician suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure is almost sure to be catastrophic for anyone starting her own business.
The result of that failure is predictable and verifiable by anyone interested in looking into it.
Let’s look at the difference between the two. Between the technician’s point of view and the entrepreneur’s.
The technician builds a business that depends upon him, around his skills, his talent, his interests, and his predispositions. He devotes his time, his energy, and his life working for a living, albeit self-employed. In the end, there is little equity to show for the investment of his time. At the beginning, he bought a job. In the end, if he’s lucky, he sells the job to a person who acquires it for little more than break-even, but most often at a net loss. The most a technician can show for the time he spent in his business is the income he earned, the feeling he had of being “independent,” and whatever few assets he may have acquired with the income he earned over the time he was in business.
The entrepreneur, on the other hand, builds an enterprise that liberates her, creates endless amounts of energy, and increases her financial, emotional,
and mental capital exponentially. In the end, there is significant equity to show for her investment. The enterprise runs itself in the hands of professional management. It has real value in the world. The entrepreneur is now free to invest what she’s learned in another enterprise, depending upon what she wishes to do with the rest of her life. In any event, she has learned how to grow an organization, how to utilize her creativity in the real world, how to expand her reach, and how to add value to many people, all while creating income that she no longer has to “work” for, not to mention an estate for herself and the people she loves.
Same amount of time invested, significantly different return on investment.
The technician goes to work in his business.
The entrepreneur goes to work on his business.
The entrepreneur creates an enterprise, like Starbucks or Wal-Mart or Google.com.
The technician creates a job in a business of his own, like Jerry’s Cleaners or Peggy’s Diner or Dr. Kaplan’s Chiropractic Clinic.
The result, in both cases, is predictable.
In the beginning, Sam Walton of Wal-Mart took on what would seem to be, on the surface of it, an enormous risk. In the end, he left a multibillion-dollar legacy. You know it today as one of the largest companies in the world.
On the very first day of Peggy’s Diner, Peggy was doing pretty much the same thing she would be doing years later: waiting on tables, cooking meals, making ends meet. The only difference was she was older at the end and had a hell of a lot less time and energy left. In the end, she had debts to pay off. You’ve never heard of Peggy’s Diner.
Sam Walton started his company the same year Peggy started hers.
Think about it.
The very same year that Sam Walton started Wal-Mart, Peggy started Peggy’s Diner.