Revisiting The E-Myth

2009 | Jul 15 in Business Development , Home Page News , Systems , Leadership

By E-Myth Business Coach,

One of my Mastery Impact! clients, a veterinarian, recently questioned me about an article he’d found on the Internet written by a business coach (not affiliated with E-Myth in any way). This article implied that the E-Myth perspective mandates that the Technicians of the world: the plumbers, the doctors, the contractors, the designers…shouldn’t be doing any technical work at all.

The article posed the question: what if you’re a baker who just likes to bake pies? Well the answer to that is simple, but it’s an answer that’s often misinterpreted.

As with every successful concept, book or enterprise, we have both emulators and detractors. Not surprising since no one person or entity has all the perfect answers to every question. However, in the spirit of clarifying some of the misconceptions regarding the E-Myth, let’s take a look at two often misquoted and misinterpreted aspects of the E-Myth approach:

Misconception #1: The business owner should never do the technical work of the business

A fear that often arises from a misunderstanding of the E-Myth concept is that to be a “successful” business owner, one must abandon the role of The Technician completely, thus abandoning the very work that many of these business owners love most — their catalyst for going into business in the first place. My veterinarian client for example, loves being a vet and doesn't want to give up that role so we've worked on creating a business that is structured in such a way that he can continue in that role as long as he wants it.

The truth is that many business owners choose to remain a technician to some degree. The more obvious examples might be physicians or marketing consultants, individuals who derive their joy and fulfillment in life from the actual work they love to do.

Nowhere in the E-Myth Point of View does it say that the business owner can never again be in the role of The Technician. You do however, need to find a balance between the three business personalities within you: The Entrepreneur, The Technician, and The Manager.

So the answer to the baker who just wants to bake pies? You can bake pies all day long but if you don't work on the business, you're not really building a business asset, you're just baking pies.

If your ultimate desire is to bake pies profitably, to share what you love to do with the world, then create a business that runs like a fine-tuned machine in all areas so that you're free to do what you love — bake pies, be a veterinarian, play golf, relax on a beach... whatever you want. It's about building a business that serves your life... and it's absolutely possible.

An E-Myth'd business is an asset that does not rely on you

Let's go back to my veterinarian example to illustrate a very important point: What if (heaven forbid) the vet can suddenly no longer work? What if the vet decides that he no longer wants to? What happens to the business?

Many business owners don't ever think about this point because they're so busy working in their business they haven't even thought about their eventual exit strategy.

And herein lies the heart of it: If the business is built around the skills of the individual technician, what happens to the business if something happens to the technician?

An E-Myth'd business is an asset that does not rely on you. It's a systems-dependent not people-dependent business. It's a business with a documented and repeatable unique and proprietary way of doing business.

If my veterinarian client decided to work only part time, he could... and his business would not suffer. He could bring on another qualified veterinarian to take over because he has every process — every client touch point — documented in such a way that the clients would still receive the same level of service they've come to expect from the business.

If he wanted to sell the business completely, he could. Often when practitioners sell their businesses, they end up merely selling their client lists. But because my client has an E-Myth'd business — a true asset with repeatable, reliable systems in place — he can sell his business for top dollar. The buyer would be able to come in and run things in the same profitable way right from the beginning. The transition would be seamless for all parties... employees, vendors, customers and everybody in between.

Misconception #2: Every business should be franchised

We often talk about the franchise prototype model, about creating a turnkey business. But let us be clear: You do not have to franchise your business to be successful! The franchise prototype is just that: a model. It's a guide for building a business.

For some businesses, franchising with multiple locations or branch offices is the most feasible growth strategy. For some, franchising doesn't make sense, nor does it fit their goals for the business.

What the E-Myth advocates is building your business as a franchise prototype regardless of whether you intend to franchise or not. The value and benefit of creating a franchise prototype comes from the efficiency and structure it provides. It is the creation of solid systems and processes that are documented and fully integrated that sets an "E-Myth'd" business apart from others.

A franchise prototype is inherently more valuable by nature of the fact that it is not people-dependent. You could walk away from the business tomorrow. You could sell it or hand it over to somebody else (your family successor, an employee, a buyer) and they could run it just as well as you do because all the systems are in place that allow them to do so.

One of my clients, a car dealer, came to E-Myth specifically because he realized that building his business into a franchise prototype would get him more money when he decided to sell it. His wake up call? When he tried to sell his dealership and the prospective buyer asked to see the business's operation manual. He didn't have one. To which the buyer said, "Great! Let's look at your inventory then because that's all I'll be willing to pay for."

In the end, The E-Myth approach is a formula that's based on more than 30 years experience working with small business owners. For those who truly embrace it and put it to work in their lives, amazing things can happen. I know this is true, because I've seen it happen time and again. I've seen the "ah ha" moments that change people's lives. I've watched entrepreneurs realize their dreams by creating businesses with real value... businesses that support their lives.


  1. .Glenn H. says:

    Wow!  This changes alot of my perceptions about the E-Myth!  Thanks! 

    Submitted Jul 15, 2009 11:51 AM

  2. .Raymond T H. says:

    You published this at exactly the right time for me. I love the technical part of my business, and at the same time I want to grow the firm. The difference between remaining self-employed and growing a business is the systems I create to make the business run. Thank you for a timely article. -RTH

    Submitted Jul 15, 2009 12:25 PM

  3. .Robert L. says:

    Excellent...This has backed up my understanding of the E-Myth! cheers.

    Submitted Jul 15, 2009 2:12 PM

  4. .John P. says:

    i could not agree more the misconception are based on not fully realizing these are more mind set shifts then literal.

    Submitted Jul 15, 2009 8:13 PM

  5. .ramalinggam k. says:

    Two takeaways I found relevant and meaningful:

    "....BALANCE  between the three business personalities within you.."

    "....business that is structured....."

    Experience says this is what every business-owner NEEDS but he is unable to get wise to it because I suppose he is thriving in constant activity and buzyness. Having said that, when would it click in his mind that he now NEEDS structure and balance? i..e how to determine the timing of the need? Any ideas?

    Submitted Jul 15, 2009 11:08 PM

  6. .GEORGE W. says:

    The clarity that you have elicited in the expalnation above is very insightful. It has shaded some light in the idea behind the franchise prototype kind of business as it centers around the systems being the source of success of the business rather than the people who start them up. I had been duped to think that franchise connotes developing business branches to widen the clientelle base. That article has erased the worries I began to suffer. Thank you very much.

    Submitted Jul 16, 2009 5:22 AM

  7. .kingsley g. says:

    Great guys, The misconception can only come from detractors. Because your packages are usually lucidly delivered for an average mind to comprehend.Thanks for reinforcing it anyway. Kingsley.

    Submitted Jul 16, 2009 5:39 AM

  8. .E-Myth Business Coach says:

    As an E-Myth Business Coach I can say, too, that this article underscores the value my clients gain in understanding that they are not simply building a business - they are building an asset. In other words, they are building something with inherent value that will enable them to pursue their ideal "exit strategy", whether that is selling their business at a price they want, or having a life-long source of income to provide the security and means to live comfortably.

    Submitted Jul 16, 2009 12:40 PM

  9. .Maru M. says:

    I just finished taking the Mastery Impact program. When I just started, I fought with my coach about the idea of transforming my cookie shop into a franchise prototipe: I associated franchise with non personalized, low quality service and product.

    But I finally got it. It used to be  that when tired I cried to my accountant that I wanted to sell the business, he would tell me: "you cannot sell your bakery! You are the bakery!" At first I felt important, then I started to feel depressed. E Myth helped me develop the systems that gave me back my freedom, there's uniformity in my 3 stores now that I could not achieve before!

    And believe it or not, someone has approached about buying my business and  (if I decide to do so), I have something to sell without having to  include "me" in the package!

    Submitted Jul 19, 2009 7:36 AM

  10. .Betty C. says:

    Thanks for the timely clarity! I found the distinction on the role of the Technician especially helpful. Loved that it was so short and sweet and to the point!

    Submitted Jul 22, 2009 12:05 PM

  11. .Charles S. says:

    Thanks. I'm know where near finishing the online course or my business plan. be struggeling for sometime now. But, believe me, this article really cleared up my thinking. Thanks.

    Submitted Jul 26, 2009 3:35 PM

  12. .bob m. says:

    Nice graphic of the myths.  I would recommend seeing if your site generator can add 'ALT' tags for the search engines and visually impaired and mobile viewers.

    I wish there was a way to post this article more prominently for more people. In sharing the eMyth philosophy for over 20 years, this is the part that gets most people 'stuck'. Especially the 'smart' ones. Of course our schooling system for doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers etc. really componds the issue - but that is another story.

    Submitted Oct 21, 2009 3:13 PM

  13. .Paul P. says:

    Absolutely love the article.

    Submitted Dec 23, 2009 12:42 PM

  14. .muhammad a. says:

    Hi Maru

    i like that Being a Slef Employeed What i Have to Sell- Myslef.Going under others Slavery. Becasue i am best plumber. I Have Plumbing Business(In the Air) Fooling my Slef i have a Business.What i am Going to Tranfer to my Kids. Buinsess or Skill of Fixing Cloged Pipes under the crawl Basement.telling them it is a business.

    Good Artical - Eye Opener

    Submitted Jun 26, 2010 12:40 PM

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