Hundreds of books offer all kinds of business advice. You could spend all day browsing the business book section of Amazon. Many have catchy titles, some have good ideas, and a few are game changing classics. When implemented, these are the ones that can change your business, even your life. Two of these classics are Michael Gerber’s E Myth Revisited and Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand. I, and some of my clients, have fully implemented the concepts in these books to great success and have seen real changes as a result.
Each year, a million new businesses are started. However, 40 percent fail within the first year and 80 percent fail within five years. Of those that last five years, more than 80 percent will fail at some point in the next five.
Michael Gerber’s book, The E Myth Revisited, is all about how not to be one of those business owners. Underlying the high failure rate are persistent romantic notions about how businesses are born and what it takes to make them succeed. The “E-Myth” in the book’s title refers to what Gerber calls the Entrepreneurial Myth. This is the idea that small businesses are founded by entrepreneurs with a great idea, capital to invest, and the business acumen to pull it off. The truth is that most small businesses are started by ill-equipped technicians. They mistakenly think that knowing how to do a specific thing, such as baking pies, is all it takes to make a business work. But there’s much more to it.
The important thing isn’t only the commodity — what is produced — but how it is produced. The business itself is an essential part of the product. Gerber goes on to say that small business owners need to balance three key roles:
- The entrepreneur that provides the vision, creativity, and energy to drive the business.
- The manager who must pragmatically translate the vision into reality through planning and systems.
- The technician is an individualist and a doer who produces the product or service.
Balancing these three roles can be challenging. But this is what makes Gerber’s books so valuable. As you read it, you will begin to realize the changes you need to implement to make your own business stronger. Reading and applying the advice in the book is a journey, but a very rewarding one in the end.
I remember the first time I heard this line in Donald Miller’s podcast intro: “If you confuse, you lose.” It is also a great one-line summary for his book, Building a StoryBrand. This book is a step by step guide for clarifying the message of your business and marketing. He suggests creating a narrative for your business in which the customer is the hero, and you are the guide leading them through the challenges they face. Your products and services exist to solve their problems and help them along. In this book you will learn:
- The seven-step framework to communicate your brand and value proposition to your target market.
- The step by step plan to implement StoryBrand into your business.
- The five simple steps to tweak your website to implement StoryBrand.
The Wiser Wealth Management webpage is a story branded website which has been vetted by the StoryBrand team. The layout is constantly being tweaked based on conversion rates and gaining a better understanding of the StoryBrand process. Many of our clients are excited about implementing this process in their marketing, but still need further guidance. Donald Miller’s follow up book, Marketing Made Simple, will give you a clear path for implementing the StoryBrand concepts. Just as a warning though. If you implement your story correctly, you will need to have great process as laid out in E Myth Revisited to handle the sale volume.
What business book changed your trajectory? I would love to hear about it!