Often when asked by young entrepreneurs what business book I recommend they read, I say ‘The E-Myth Revisited‘. The book basically argues that for a business to be truly successful, the business must scale beyond any one specific person, especially the founder.
Per the E-Myth, a business does this by the founder of the business dividing their day-to-day work into 3 unique roles: 1 as the Entrepreneur focused on inventing and perfecting the processes of the business, 1 as the technician doing the work laid out in those processes and the last as the manager who will hold new team members accountable in adhering to these processes as they join the growing firm.
The book argues that most businesses focus solely on the technician stage. Think of the barber who opens a barber shop to cut hair, the mechanic that opens his own shop to repair cars or as the book illustrates the baker who opens her own bakery. The E-myth explains that a technician who opens their own place to find freedom doesn’t actually own a business and rarely finds the freedom they were seeking. Instead, the technician actually owns a job and inherits a mad-man for a boss, themselves!
Without giving away all the great nuggets held inside the book for resolving the common problems associated with launching a business, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you an example for when you know your business has began to scale.
The other day, I saw this first hand in a startup where the business was beginning to scale on its on. It occurred when one of the lead developers who manages a development team sent a memo to his direct reports. In the memo, he asks his team to adhere to a policy laid out by the founders of the company for how to document code updates made to the company website per the company policy. Below is his memo to his team when he realized they had not been correctly following the procedure:
Subject: Most Important To Be Followed
In our recent work orders from the past few weeks, we have skipped adding the file path where we have made code changes. First, let me share that I was not following this procedure correctly, either. I apologize for that. I will be following this procedure and would like to ask onwards that all the team follow this step.
So as soon as you finish your work orders in the future, please post sample update like this:
This work order is ready for review. I have deployed the changes to http://www.website.com/customer/277. I have also confirmed functionality in Chrome, Mozilla, Safari and all supported IE versions. I made a change to base\classes\controller\api\customer.php – Susie
I want everyone to follow this step and please confirm with me once you read this by replying.
This type of communication and accountability among your team members is a sign they are becoming official stewards of your unique business processes. Good stewards teach and hold other team members accountable for following approved business processes. As we did in this case, be sure to give credit where credit is due and do it publicly in front of other team members. This shows your team examples of the type of characteristics you and your managers want to see grow and prosper throughout your business in the future.
Eventually when you have the right team in place, the team on its own will begin to hold other team members accountable for the strict adherence to the processes you have as a ‘business artist’ developed so you as the founder moving from technician to full-time entrepreneur as instructed by the E-Myth personally don’t have to. This as the E-Myth so elegantly illustrates makes your life easier and the future success of the business more obtainable.