Are You Working In Or On You Business? The E-Myth

It’s one of the most important questions a small business owner can ask themselves. “Are you working in or on your business?” This is the primary theme of Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth, that I read many years ago. It’s a powerful question and oftentimes small business owners that I ask this question to, don’t fully understand what I’m asking.

I was recently up in Vancouver doing some consulting. I had a limo pick me up from the airport to take me to my meeting and then to my hotel. Jacob, my limo driver, is the owner of the limo business. He has a pretty nice fleet of limos, but he was having to drive today because his business was busy, which is a nice problem to have. So, I asked him the question, “Are you working in or on your business?” Jacob replied, “Both.” I said it is an ‘or’ question, you have to pick.

Then he said, “I suppose it’s in, then.” Yes, you are correct. I then asked him if he had ever read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. He said no. I then gave him a brief summarization of the book and the premise. I asked him what his goals for his limo business was. His reply was “I want to be the best limousine service in Vancouver.” Well, what exactly does that mean Jacob, I asked. How do you become the best? He really didn’t have an answer.

I told him that it was important to make that goal measurable. Being the best limousine service in Vancouver is one thing, but how do you know when you get there? When is the goal achieved? Jacob was beginning to understand the real question that I was asking. He knew that he was hustling and working a lot, but didn’t really see that it was making the difference he was wanting in his life for his family.

I got his business card and told him I was going to send him The E-Myth book to read and I wanted him to send me an email letting me know when he finished it and what his main take-aways were. I also asked for him to send me his 3 top goals that were well written and measurable for the next 90 days. Then 6, 12 and 18 month goals. I told him that if he would commit to doing this, I would follow up with him in 90 days. If he was still serious and working these goals, I would also give him a few 30 minute consultations on the phone at 6, 12 and 18 months.

I truly enjoy meeting entrepreneurs and hearing their stories. It inspires me to do more to mentor entrepreneurs and speak into their lives and businesses. I strive to do this when I am out doing consulting and traveling. It’s one way that I know I can reach out and share the knowledge that I have obtained over the years from my own mentors who have invested their time in me.

We’ll see if Jacob follows up and takes me up on my offer. I do hope he does. He has a great limo business in Vancouver, check it out at: Vancouver Washington limos. I think that it truly can be the best. But it’s up to Jacob…