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“Have you ever heard of a book called the E-Myth by Michael Gerber? It’s been years since I read it, 17 or 18 at least, but I know I saw a copy of it in book stores so it’s still around. Anybody read it?

The concept is of the three business personalities – entrepreneur, manager and technician. “Defining the business is entrepreneurial work, doing the hands-on work is technical work and the managerial work is the bridge between the two”. Gerber tells the story of a plumber who was great at what he did. After running a highly successful one man operation for years, he was talked in to expanding his business, hiring new employees and growing off his great reputation. Well, you can read the book but it turns out the guy was a great plumber but a lousy manager and a successful business requires both. Again it’s been a long time but the lesson I got out of it was “it’s one thing to have a skill or an idea, have customers who like what you do and it’s another to run and manage a business.” Even the smallest of enterprises needs some basic management fundamentals.

When I started my first business I didn’t have a clue about hiring, training, motivating or managing. Jobs I had previously worked in didn’t have job description or performance reviews (there wasn’t a job description for Dishwasher at the Denver Drumstick). Small businesses that grow, do so not only in the number of employees but also in complexity. As an owner or manager you have to grow too.

Don’t you hate it when the people you hire turn out to be a huge “miss”? Whether it’s the lack of hiring skills or the lack of training and orientation, they either quit or you have to let them go because they aren’t the right fit. Michael Gerber would suggest developing a system of task and procedures. Write things down and develop a manual with a goal to consistently deliver what the customers want. Do the people working for you receive an annual Performance Review? Do you take an hour or two and tell your employees what they are doing right? Suggest areas to improve? Ask them where they see themselves in a couple of years?

Go online or pickup a book on Human Resource Management. Be sure you have and update job descriptions, employee profiles, operating procedures, training manuals and performance reviews. Start while you are small and update constantly. As you grow, you’re going to need them.”

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