Key Concepts: The E-Myth, Revisited


John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

If you’re like most business owners, you got into your business because you are excellent at the thing you do.

A lot of people spend years studying and learning to become great at their craft – and they become a great accountant or electrician or advisor.

Then they start their own business and discover that there are a lot of things about business that they didn’t learn in school. As one of my clients put it:

“There is no business education in Grad School for psychology or medicine. You learn your trade and you come out of that well prepared to practice in your field, but with zero knowledge about the business world.”

One of the books I recommend my clients read in order to GET that business education is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Here are some of the key concepts.

Set your business up to be a “turnkey operation”

You want your business to be systems dependent instead of people dependent

As I often tell my clients: “systems run the business, people run the systems, you lead the people.”

When you create great systems in your business, you can hire people with a relatively low level of skill and experience to do the work at a high level.

Consider McDonald’s.

How do they get those french fries to taste the same?

Whether they’re made in Moscow, or Hong Kong, or your hometown, the French fries are made by a 16-year-old and the parents of that 16 year old can’t get him or her to clean their bedroom!

How do they do that?

They have great systems.

McDonald’s can train any 16-year-old to follow their process.

To do this, you need to document all the steps and processes that go into marketing, sales, producing products or delivering services, administration, bookkeeping, etc.

If this sounds tedious, it’s because you haven’t embraced the power of asking a better question.

In my coaching program, I teach my clients how to get this work done by their employees, rather than taking it on themselves.

You have 3 roles to play in your business: entrepreneur, manager and technician

The entrepreneur is the visionary who thinks ahead and makes plans for the future.

The manager develops processes and procedures and ensures that the work gets done to certain standard.

The technician does the technical work of the business.

You’ll likely prefer one of these roles, but to be a good business owner, you need to balance all three.

You need to be able to do the technical work in the beginning to cut costs, be able to manage and train other employees and have a plan for the future.

If you want to grow your business, you may find yourself having to give up your main skill to someone else in order to give yourself more time to lead and manage.

There are three stages of a business: infancy, adolescence and maturity

The infancy stage is where the business operates on what the owner wants rather than what the business needs to grow and succeed.

This stage ends when the owner can’t keep up with all the work themselves and they feel like they’ve lost control of the business.

In my 5 Steps to Freedom Program, I call this stage chaos or disorder.

This is the point when many people decide to give up and go back to working for someone else.

Those who don’t quit enter the adolescent stage when they decide to grow their business.

To do this, they need to stretch outside their comfort zones and learn the skills they need to become a better business owner.

This stage requires a lot of learning and work.

  • Understanding your finances and cash flow
  • Learning leadership, management, and delegation skills
  • Becoming better at planning, priority setting, personal productivity, and the ability to self-manage
  • Thinking in terms of systems and processes instead of people
  • Developing process and procedures manuals
  • Becoming skilled at sales and marketing

This is the perfect time to work with a business coach.

In the maturity stage, your business has a clear vision and purpose.

You have systems and processes and people to run them.

You’re able to spend time working ON your business instead of just IN it.

If you’d like to discuss how coaching can help you reach your goals, book a complimentary 15-minute call with me here: Book 15 minutes with John

The Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business

w5 what does it mean to scale your business

How to grow your business without sacrificing time freedom

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you:

  • Develop systems and processes to free up your time
  • Hire and manage a great team to run your business (mostly) without you
  • Make the mindset changes that enable you to grow your business bigger - faster than you dreamed possible