Why the E-Myth Can Sink Businesses — and How to Conquer the Problem

Why do most new businesses fail?

Much ink has been spilled on this vexing question. Almost thirty years ago, Michael Gerber proposed a simple explanation: the E-myth. (That’s short for the entrepreneurial myth.) Despite technological advances, his ideas are as relevant today as they were in the 80s and 90s. 

The E-myth is the theory that entrepreneurs are superheroes glamorised by Western culture: charismatic, driven geniuses who can do everything in their business themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth – or a better recipe for burnout. The companies that subscribe to the E-myth generally don’t stay in business for long.

Rather than seeing entrepreneurs as superheroes who can do anything, Gerber splits them up according to their particular strengths and weaknesses.

The three types of entrepreneurial personalities

According to Gerber, there are three basic types of entrepreneurial personalities:

  • The Technician: Above all else, technicians are doers. They have deep skills and knowledge, and can build things that people will want. Technicians are the coders, designers, and engineers. 
  • The Entrepreneur: These personalities are visionaries. They think big and have a virtually limitless supply of energy. Where others may see roadblocks, they see opportunities.
  • The Manager: Ultimately, managers are pragmatists. They value order, and have the organizational know-how to create order out of chaos. Managers see keeping everything on track as their primary job.

All three personality types bring something valuable to the table. Yet they need help from others in order to build a successful business.

Defeating the E-myth through outsourcing

Most people who start businesses are Technicians or Entrepreneurs. This makes sense. Entrepreneurs want to share their big visions with the world. Technicians have high-level skills to offer. Oftentimes, Entrepreneurs and Technicians team up and work together as founders.

The problem? The Technicians and Entrepreneurs aren’t natural managers. They know how to dream big and do exciting things. But when it comes to managing the everyday business workflow, they falter. If given the choice, many say they’d rather not deal with it at all.

Then again, as Technicians and Entrepreneurs, most business owners have grand visions and impressive skills. That should be enough to get a business off the ground, right?

Wrong. Even the best, most revolutionary businesses need systems and processes so that those grand visions can actually come to fruition. In fact, the most revolutionary business ideas oftentimes require highly sophisticated management techniques. The history of business is littered with innovative ideas that never really got off the ground due to a failure to execute.

Some entrepreneurs believe that they can learn the management skills they need to propel their business to success. This may or may not be true. But regardless, it’s risky for an entrepreneur to devote too much time towards management tasks. Getting into the weeds of management means less time for thinking about the big picture.

So, entrepreneurs are in a conundrum. For one reason or another, they can’t spend time on management—even though strong management is critical for getting a business of the ground and growing it.

But this problem isn’t intractable. The smartest business owners know that instead of trying to do everything by themselves, they should partner with others who can bring other skills—including management skills—to the business.

Applying the E-myth methodology to content marketing

Although robust marketing systems are critical for business success, most people who start businesses are neither writers nor marketers. They may be visionaries and experts in product development, but devising and executing an advanced marketing system? That feels elusive. And writing the content yourself like a Technician would do simply takes too much time.

Given this challenge, it’s all too easy to just forget about content marketing altogether. Or worse, business owners put up lackluster marketing materials that give prospective customers the wrong impression.

But entrepreneurs don’t have to settle for bad content or no content. Businesses can work with experts to execute a content marketing strategy at a high level. Here at Content Viking, we take care of the Technician and Management aspects for content marketing-related tasks, so that our clients can be Entrepreneurs. To put it another way: while our clients focus on high-level business development, Content Viking systematically produces high-quality content that drives in new business.

Practising what we preach

We have religiously applied this philosophy to our own business over the past two years. Previously, our CEO, Geoff, handled all of the management tasks himself—from finding new clients to accounting to editing articles. As you might imagine, this didn’t leave him with much time to do high-level entrepreneurial tasks. Ultimately, that wasn’t a sustainable business model for Content Viking.

So, we changed things up. Content Viking brought on managers to focus on the critical business of managing client relationships and handling finances. They’re the Managers of the business. Our writers are the Technicians who work on developing the product. That frees up the CEO to act as the company’s Entrepreneur. Which is exactly how it should be.

In case there’s any doubt that this method works, Content Viking has tripled both revenue and gross profits over the past two years. .We’ve also increased the amount of cash we have on hand 10x since July 2017.

We can help other businesses achieve similar success. By providing top-of-the-line content marketing services to small businesses, we free entrepreneurs from the drudgery of trying to be Technicians and Managers. We let them be the Entrepreneurs they want to be.

The E-myth doesn’t have to be a death knell for your business, but avoiding that trap requires the right partner. If this philosophy resonates with you, contact us to learn more about our services.