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Home » Business Library

The Perfect Book for Start Up Entrepreneurs

The Secret of Successful Businesses

This is a guest post by BRT regular Ben Lumley. If you’re interested in writing a guest post, please check our guidelines here.

emyth_michaelCreative Commons License photo credit: StevenGroves

OK so this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I read a blog post and left a comment then, without realising it, I entered a competition. The next thing I knew I’d won a book. You’d think I’d learn from the first time but apparently not.

So a few weeks ago I won a copy of “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber and as a way of saying thank you to Matthew, I thought I’d review it. Why? Not because I think I owe it to Matthew but because I think “The E-Myth Revisited” is chuffing amazing!!!

The E-Myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.

The very cool thing about The E-Myth is that it’s not just a book about how to start a business from a guy who’s had his own business. No No. Michael Gerber not only tells you how to start a successful small business but also why most fall flat on their face. That, in my mind, carries far more weight and substance than a book that just tells you how to do it.

Gerber gets right to the point in Chapter 1 with what the E-Myth is and why it causes so many problems for start-up entrepreneurs. Not fussed about waffling on for 20 chapters before telling you the problem, he jumps right in there and gives it to you straight. He the spends the rest of the time telling you what you can do about it and therefore how to fix your business before you break it beyond all recognition.

The Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician.

Before reading the E-Myth I thought, yeah OK being an entrepreneur sounds pretty cool. But I never considered why some of the people I knew who were entrepreneurs were great at it while others were down right awful.

Gerber explains how many people start their own businesses because they are technicians and are really good at doing the job that they’re doing working for “the man”. After thinking they could run a better business, they start up their own but only ever work as a technician so the business never grows.

Some people start businesses with the manager mindset and so can’t do the stuff that actually needs doing to get the thing off the ground but trust me, they can manage the heck out of it! Neither the manager nor the technician, unless they develop themselves to the third stage, can run an effective business. The only person who can do that, according to Gerber, is the entrepreneur, one who is being entrepreneurial.

The Business Development Process

After explaining how to make the most of the entrepreneur inside of you, Gerber moves on to talk about the processes involved in making your business not only successful but profitable.

The core of these is the Business Development Process which many business type do after the wheels have fallen off the cart but should really be done before you even start. It’s made up of 7 parts and starting from what David Allen would call a very 50,000ft viewpoint, the Business Development Process breaks down the whole ball game and makes you take a serious look at what you’re doing in your business as well as how to change it.

I seriously can’t recommend this book enough, it’s awesome!

But now it’s your turn.

What’s your biggest frustration in your business?

Helping you kick start something new and exciting totally rocks my day. As an extra special thank you to you, Matthew’s Big Red Tomato Company readers, I’m delighted to offer five 1 hour $150 value brainstorming sessions to the owners of the 5 most compelling answers.

If you’re a bit stuck and need a shove to take your business to the next level or have awesome stuff you want to achieve but could use a hand nailing it at the next level, tell me about it in the comments. The best 5 win one hour with me.

In the meantime, remember to think like an entrepreneur, not a manager or technician, and have a totally kick-ass day!


  • El Edwards said:

    I think it’s probably a good job I don’t really have anything I need for Christmas because it’s looking like I’ll be making a book list! Quick question though, as excellent as you found it, do you think it’s for all entrepreneurs? I mean, even the ones who have no intention of having staff?

    As for your question, my biggest frustration is probably time. I have so much stuff to do but never enough hours in the week!

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi El, sorry to add another book to your list. I promise that the next book that I review will not find it’s way on to your list! Nothing wrong with it, it’s because it’s for people who work inside organisations. Anyway, do I think that this is a book that should be for all entrepreneurs? Yes I do. Because it’s about building a business and not having a job. Businesses need to be built on foundations and that’s what this book is great at getting you to recognise.

    Thanks for the comment El, Matthew

  • Ben said:

    Yeah completely agree.

    The Emyth is for all kinds of entrepreneurs no matter what kind of set up they are running.

    I share your frustration with lack of time El, hence why I’m writing this at 2am on a Saturday morning

  • Adrian Swinscoe said:

    Hi Ben,
    I came across this book a few years ago and cannot recommend it highly enough. It provides great insights and ways to deal with many of the problems that entrepreneurs face.

    Thank you for bringing it to our attention again. Now, where’s my copy?


  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Adrian, thanks for your comment here. I agree, I read it for the first time about 2 years ago and I recommend it too all my small business clients as the perfect ‘manual’ for setting up a business.

    Thanks again, Matthew

  • Ben said:

    My pleasure Adrian

    Hope you find your copy

  • Alex said:

    This sounds like something that I need.
    Too long I have focused on the learning aspect to my business, diving headfirst into the chaos that is SEO and ‘making money online’ but I spent so long worrying about the content of my business, and failed to concern myself with structure.
    What I am left with is a brilliant idea and some solid foundations, but no framework with which to grow it.
    To escape the analogy for a moment, my biggest struggle is managing my own time, and making myself REALISITCALLY accountable.
    I need to learn to start treating this like a business and not a hobby in short.
    Great review btw Ben, and thanks Matthew for sharing

  • Ben said:

    I think we all focus on all the things that will make a difference when we start out that we fail to set up the structure thats really needed.

    Make sure by treating “this” like a business that you don’t loose the fun in it that got you started.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Yes, you’re right. In fact, there’s a danger of ‘following the money’ which means that making money is the sole reason for having a blog, which is definitely not the right thing to do.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    El raised a good point in her comment Alex. Is this a good book for small businesses who aren’t intending to employee people? Yes is definitely the reason for the points you mention. Certainly working to a framework will get you better results in less time. Thanks for taking the time to comment Alex.