Why Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It

Having started the year wanting to dive into some business books, I was recommended Talk Triggers and after a search on Amazon, I came upon The E-Myth Revisited – Why Small Businesses Don’t Work

Man and woman working

Why Small Businesses Don’t Work

This book will strike an immediate chord with everybody who runs a business, whether they are successful or whether they are wondering why it is so difficult to achieve what they had in mind when they set out on the entrepreneurial path.

Easy Relatable Narrative

It has an easy narrative and tells the story of Sarah a small business owner, who went into business because she loved baking cakes. Sarah was waking at 3am to start her day and finishing late into the evening, exhausted and her passion for cake making had near but gone. Gerber speaks to Sarah, via storytelling, mentoring her from working in her business to running her business. It uses Sarah’s story to illustrate the most common mistakes business owners make and provides some amazing insights.

Gerber makes his main points very simple and clear, but they are of profound importance to the health of your business! Once understood, you will be able to look at your business with fresh eyes, and begin to put systems into place that will enable you to become free of your business, while making it ever more profitable.

E-Myth teaches you the importance of making yourself replaceable so that your business system can be run without you (think not having to check your emails on holiday!) and can be replicated should you wish to franchise this model for further expansion and higher profits.

Rules And Guidelines

He also suggests that if you set your business out following his rules and guidelines, you could sell your business easily if you wish to do so, as ‘you’ will no longer be the business, but an employer within the business.

Imagine freeing up more time to spend with your family or go on holiday, knowing that you are earning without needing to be physically present all the time.

There are essential, practical and usable tips for all Entrepreneurs lacking in time, energy, profit, and hope!

flatlay with words The book that changed my biz

The Primary Purpose

The primary purpose of your life is not to serve your business but the primary purpose of your work is to service your life. The book teaches you to pretend your business is a franchise from the outset, think of it as a prototype for 5 thousand more just like it; clones. Because your business will offer consistent value to customers, suppliers beyond what is expected. Beyond their wildest expectations.

He suggests you:

  • Employ the people with the lowest skill necessary
  • Your business is documented in operations manuals
  • Offer a predicted and predictable service
  • Uniform code
  • The business is run independent of me, a product that operates without me, that is predictable, wanting customers to come back to me
  • Lead with a strong business development process
  • That the business process evolves and is a continuous process
  • Lead with Innovation

This system opens up a new way of thinking:-

  • Things to get done.
  • Evolve and create new things.
  • Supplies your business for you.
  • Makes your business uncomplicated.
  • Matches your customers’ needs before they know their own needs.

Have a think about what makes you different? Differentiate the business against other businesses within your niche.


Gerber says you should innovate the way in which your business does business

“The Franchise Revolution has brought with it an application of Innovation that has been almost universally ignored by American business. By recognizing that it is not the commodity that demands Innovation but the process by which it is sold, the franchiser aims his innovative energies at the way in which his business does business.

To the franchiser, the entire process by which the business does business is a marketing tool, a mechanism for finding and keeping customers.
Therefore each and every component of the business system is a means through which the franchiser can differentiate his business from all other businesses in the mind of his consumer.”


Gerber writes that you should quantify your innovation so you know the impact and where to spend your energy.

“But on its own, Innovation leads nowhere. To be at all effective, all Innovations need to be quantified. Without Quantification, how would you know whether the Innovation worked? By Quantification, I’m talking about the numbers related to the impact an Innovation makes.”


Create order, not more chaos so you can focus your business on bigger and better things, than re-inventing the basics from scratch every time.

“Once you innovate a process and quantify its impact on your business, once you find something that works better than what preceded it, once you discovered how to increase the ‘yeses’ from your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and your lenders — at that point, it’s time to orchestrate the whole thing.

Orchestration is the elimination of discretion, or choice, at the operating level of your business.

Without Orchestration, however, nothing could be planned, and nothing anticipated — by you or your customer. If you’re doing everything differently each time you do it, if everyone in your company is doing it by their own discretion, their own choice, rather than creating order, you’re creating chaos.”

Be Predictable

You must continue to be predictable and therefore, your business must give the same predictable service every time. In other words, this is the glue that holds your customers to you.

The rule of the day is to produce a predictable result for every single client or customer from everyone within their business. This should move with the times, with your ideal customer needs. A dynamic process that enables you to be flexible.

Most importantly, your business needs to do everything the same, the same routine and orchestration, set routine, to build and improve upon, unlike a robot but something that can continuously grow and transform.

Think of your business as the prototype for 5 thousand.

Organised desk and business

The Business Development Program

  1. Primary Aim
  2. Strategic Objective
  3. Organizational Strategy
  4. Management Strategy
  5. People Strategy
  6. Marketing Strategy
  7. Systems Strategy

I will open this with the primary aim, but I highly suggest you read or listen to the book fully, many times over to get the full benefits of Gerber’s program and system.

Primary Aim

Now get your notepad and pen out and your brains at the ready!

What do you want your life to look or feel like? Imagine in great detail, see it, feel it, smell it.

Spend time thinking about how you would like your story to go once you’re gone. Write a script for your mourners. Make it come true. Living your life with importance, create the life you wish it to be.

Think spiritually, physically, financially, business and personal.

What’s your vision of your business, the end product and primary aim, pre-tax profits after tax profits? Five years’ time?

How much do I need to be able to live the life I dream of, independent from work, to sell and live off the income from sale?

We want to make our business a turn key business.

The Turn-Key Revolution is the process of creating a business like a franchise, even if that is not the ultimate goal of the entrepreneur. When doing this, it becomes easy to systematically turn certain parts of the business over to someone else and gradually become merely an owner.

Is the opportunity worth pursuing?

Therefore, the questions you need to ask before you invest in your business, or continue to invest:-

  1. What will the return on investment be?
  2. Is this still an opportunity worth pursuing?
  3. Will it fulfil the financial standards of your aim?
  4. Does it alleviate a problem by a large enough audience?
  5. Define what your product is and who would buy it.

What the customer feels about the experience is what creates the business. The commodity is the product.

E-Myth Revisited offers a number of strategies to help guide you. The first being Organisational strategy

He suggests that you make an organisational chart for 7 years from now; make a job description for each job; make a contract for each of those jobs and sign each one. Because at the moment, most likely, you are fulfilling ALL the jobs within your new business.

Once you have completed all the contracts, printed and signed them, you can, therefore, replace your position with a newly signed contract with your new employee as your business grows.

In other words, you are setting the bar for each position. It’s critical to separate yourself from the roles you play, independent from them. As though you have many hats, you need to organise these by intentionally separating and ordering all the jobs, by taking charge and differentiate between the roles, by importance and intelligence. Then follow the rules as you’d expect others to do so.

He also covers:-

  • People strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Systems strategy
  • Management strategy

Because the way you behave and treat others from the beginning will be how your future employees and anyone that comes into contact with your business will remember you by.

The System

You need to make the rules for your business.

  • The Big Picture – How we do it here
  • Recruitment how we hire and train
  • Management – how we manage it here
  • How we change it here

‘The System’ is the ‘know like and trust factor’ and anything in between.

Consistent results happen when everyone consistently follows the rules that have been set out in the system.

Notebook, pen, coffee and phone flatlay

Think About Your Message

Once you know who your target market is, you can buy a list of those demographics.

However, as a small business you may not have the budget of Coca Cola or McDonalds for marketing but you can still ask all the critical marketing questions and be accountable for every marketing decision.

What must our business be in the mind of our customers? You need to know this, because your entire business process is a business marketing sales and operations. The essential key process and integration will determine how successful your business will be.

Your primary target is to get your customer to coming back for more. Deliver your promise to your customer again and again.

1. Appointment Presentation – To Make An Appointment

The object of this presentation is to move the prospect onto the Need’s analysis.

2. Need Analysis Presentation

This is where you repeat all the information from the appointment presentation to clarify and re-establish the continuity in your offer, product, and business.

You can then tell them how you can fulfil your promise. By establishing credibility by your company’s expertise (positioning statement). A willingness to do whatever is necessary to help the customer and alleviate their issues (pain point).

Describe the system and why it works so well, the impact it will have on you. Explain the steps that will follow if they wish to proceed with the sale.

3. Solutions

This is the easiest component of the process. If you’ve done the other two effectively the sale is already made.

In conclusion, information systems should hold and provide you with prospects details, appointment times, have they confirmed appointments, scheduled times, completed, solutions scheduled, confirmation, completed dates, value sold, average £value etc.

Pink background with words bring your small biz back to life.


I, like many businesses are making the classic mistake of playing the roles of the technician, manager and entrepreneur all at once. However after reading this, I have learnt about the importance of working ON your business rather than IN it.

This book has transformed the way I look at and the way I wish to run my business going forward. Therefore, I highly recommend E-Myth Revisited to all my networking friends and business associates.

My plan is to outsource many of my low-value activities such as admin and so on, freeing me up to be in a role within the business, rather than be the business.

The shift in thinking alone that this book prompts will make a huge difference to you. When you add in the practical tips and suggestions that Gerber offers, you have a handbook for building a business that frees you up to play the role that’s right for you in your work and make a success of your business.

Have you read The E-Myth Revisited – Why Small Businesses Don’t Work? What did you get out of it? I’d love to hear more!

You can also find my review on Talk Triggers here – a super unique approach to Word Of Mouth Marketing.

Speak soon!