I have discovered to my dismay that Michael Gerber’s E-Myth approach doesn’t solve every growing/struggling business’s problems. Gerber, of course, has advocated for systematization — figuring out structure, processes and procedures, and developing them into a manual, much like a franchise organization. He argues in favour of tradespeople putting down their (work) tools and picking up management skills.
There are certainly good reasons for Gerber’s business approach. Until a business can be systematized, it lacks stability and structure, and you probably won’t be able to transfer it easily (and profitably) to a new owner. Once you figure out your marketing and business development systems, you should be able to generate leads and sales through economic cycles.
Yet, just as there can be a yin and yang, and sometimes opposites prove to be true, I’ve learned systematization’s limits. Great new businesses certainly disrupt established orders, and they (and their founders/leaders) often flaunt traditions. Many organizations reflect their founders/owners. When the creative, innovative spark evolves into systems and processes, you can end up with a bureaucratic mess — or worse, a conflict between the business brains and bean counters.
Nevertheless, systematization undoubtedly should be important in your marketing and business growth strategies. You need to measure, assess, and develop consistent strategies, and give experiments enough time and data to be statistically valid.
Today, for example, we’re using Timetohire.com’s system to attract performance-oriented candidates to lead Chicago Construction News. The publicity here correlates with a recruiting/hiring system and our business plan to expand by two new markets each year for the next four years. It’s an ambitious system. However, the success depends on perseverance, some luck, and human decisions/interactions that I cannot put into a manual.