Business Owners, Are you Working for a Lunatic?

‘If your business depends on you, then you don’t own a business, you have a job, and it’s the worst job in the world, because you’re working for a lunatic.’

So says Michael Gerber in the ‘E-Myth’, the bible for so many entrepreneurs, and rightly so, in my opinion.

In the E-Myth, Michael Gerber talks about this whole idea of being a technician i.e. people who start their business because they’re really good at something. They’re a florist, an electrician, a carpenter. Or maybe they’re a dentist, and I pick on a dentist because I’ve just been to mine and his business is a good example so I’ll refer to this dentist as ‘him’. A dentist spends years and years learning his trade, honing his skills, learning everything that he needs to learn to be a really good dentist, to serve and satisfy this customers/patients.

So, you go to the dentist, either for your regular checkup, or because you’ve got tooth trouble. He’ll invariably sort you out. Ideally, he hasn’t caused you that much pain, and so you leave the dentist, and you tell everybody what a great dentist you have, and how it’s pain-free, and he’s lovely, and so on. In most cases, the dentist will do the job himself; certainly the one I go to, there’s rarely anybody else in the room during my appointment. Some may have an assistant or a receptionist  but mine is a self-contained system just like the electrician, or the carpenter, or the florist. They don’t really need anybody else.

The problem is that when the dentist goes on holiday, so does his income, because he is his own self-contained system. Really, this is a huge problem for many business owners, because as Michael Gerber says in the E-Myth, “If your business depends on you, then you don’t own a business, you have a job, and it’s the worst job in the world, because you’re working for a lunatic!’ He’s right, because quite often, as business owners, we are lunatics. We’re control freaks. We’re demanding. Demanding of ourselves. We insist on long hours and hard work, and really, that’s the technician, in us, the person who feels that they have to do everything.

Proper business owners and entrepreneurs can take time off whenever they want and their income still comes in. They have two fundamental things. They have systems, and they have good people to run the systems.

When I go on holiday for three weeks, I won’t be taking any work with me, and I don’t plan to get into it with the team while I’m away. I’m not saying this to boast. I’m not saying this to get you mad at me. I’m saying it because it actually took me a while to get to the point where I have that level of trust. That trust has come from now having the strong systems in place that I need, having the team in place to get on and follow the systems, and achieve the goals.  And I know that they’re going to get there. It took time, but I do trust that everything will go well. I trust that it’ll go better than well. They’ll probably do things that I wouldn’t have thought of, because that’s the sort of environment and culture that we’ve created, within the business. Simple, logical, repeatable systems, and a good team to run them, are the root to stress-free holidays, to long weekends off, to any weekend off, and to financial and time freedom.

Simple, logical, repeatable systems, and a good team to run them.

So let me ask you, what did you do this Mayday bank holiday? We’ve got another bank holiday weekend coming up shortly. Will you be having three days off work, or do you see it as a great opportunity to catch up on odd-jobs or to stop and take stock, because you never have time to do that when you’ve just been too damn busy managing the day to day palaver?

So will that long weekend be time off with your family and friends, or just relaxing and doing what you love to do, or are you going to be working? Now of course, there are always going to be business owners who really look forward to things like bank holiday weekends and Summer holidays because it’s when they make their big money. If you’re in the leisure industry, obviously that isn’t the time to take off, but I’m talking about generally. I’m talking about taking that precious time to rest, to relax, to recuperate, to re-energise.

Certainly holidays, for me, are absolutely vital for continuing to do good work for my clients, continuing to come up with new ideas, or better ways of doing things. That all just comes out of resting my brain, stopping the relentless running and rushing around to see clients, or to develop and deliver programmes. It’s really, really important that you take that time to rest and relax, and you can only do that, as a business owner, if you have the systems in place, if you have the team in place.

I’d love you to think about that, if you recognise yourself here. I’d love you to think about how you’re going to use the next bank holiday weekend. Great systems and well trained people equals financial and time freedom. So here’s my challenge to you;

by this time next year,

  •     you will not be working bank holidays
  •     you will not be working weekends
  •     you won’t be working 60 or 70 hour weeks

Instead, you’ll be spending quality time with the people that you love, with your animals or whatever you love doing beyond your work.

If this resonates with you, but you feel a bit overwhelmed thinking of how to even begin, then we can help. We run a two day bootcamp where you can come away from the workplace, away from all the day to day hassle and distractions and start to work ‘on’ your business, not ‘in’ it, to quote Gerber again. Come along, with your team, to our Systems4Scale Bootcamp, where over those two days, you really get to work on your systems with our support and expertise. Our clients hit the ground running on their return armed, not just with know-how, but with the firm belief that this ‘freedom’ is achievable.

Do one thing: follow this link to find out more here

Our next Bootcamp is 13th & 14th June 2018 – email to register your interest


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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