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What does it take to build a business: 20 Quotes from Michael E. Gerber’s The E-myth Revisited

"The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber is a business book that delves into the myths surrounding entrepreneurship and provides valuable insights on how to build a successful business. Published in 1995, the book remains highly relevant today and continues to inspire and educate entrepreneurs worldwide.

According to Gerber, many people start their own businesses with the mistaken belief that all it takes to succeed is technical expertise in their field. This misconception often leads to disappointment and failure. Gerber says that being a great technician does not automatically make one a successful business owner.

In the book, Gerber introduces the concept of the three distinct personalities that exist within every entrepreneur: the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.

The technician is the doer, the one who excels in performing the technical work. The manager is the one who creates order and structure within the business. And the entrepreneur is the visionary, the dreamer who drives innovation and growth.

Overall, The E-Myth Revisited offers invaluable insights and guidance. It challenges conventional beliefs about entrepreneurship and provides a roadmap for building a business that thrives. By understanding the myths and learning how to harness the power of the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur, you can take your business to new heights of success.

Here are 20 quotes from Michael E. Gerber’s The E-myth Revisited

  1. “The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is living fully and just existing.”
  2. “If your business depends on you, 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!”
  3. “The work we do is a reflection of who we are. If we’re sloppy at it, it’s because we’re sloppy inside. If we’re late at it, it’s because we’re late inside. If we’re bored by it, it’s because we’re bored inside, with ourselves, not with the work. The most menial work can be a piece of art when done by an artist. So the job here is not outside of ourselves, but inside of ourselves. How we do our work becomes a mirror of how we are inside.”
  4. “The difference between a warrior and an ordinary man is that a warrior sees everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man sees everything as either a blessing or a curse.”
  5. “Most people today are not getting what they want. Not from their jobs, not from their families, not from their religion, not from their government, and, most important, not from themselves. Something is missing in most of our lives. Part of what’s missing is purpose. Values. Worthwhile standards against which our lives can be measured. Part of what’s missing is a Game Worth Playing.”
  6. “Most salespeople think that selling is “closing.” It isn’t. Selling is opening.”
  7. “Creativity thinks up new things. Innovation does new things.”
  8. “Thus, the Entrepreneurial Model does not start with a picture of the business to be created but of the customer for whom the business is to be created.”
  9. “Tolerance for failure is a very specific part of the excellent company culture—and that lesson comes directly from the top. Champions have to make lots of tries and consequently suffer some failures or the organization won’t learn. Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. In Search of Excellence”
  10. “To The Manager, then, The Technician becomes a problem to be managed. To The Technician, The Manager becomes a meddler to be avoided. To both of them, The Entrepreneur is the one who got them into trouble in the first place!”
  11. “The system isn’t something you bring to the business. It’s something you derive from the process of building the business.”
  12. “Quality is just a word, and an empty word at that if it doesn’t include harmony, balance, passion, intention, attention. “Continuous improvement for its own sake is a waste of time. “Life is what a business is about, and life is what this work is about. Coming to grips with oneself, in the face of an incredibly complex world that can teach us if we’re open to learning.”
  13. “All you need to do is begin living your life as if it were important. All you need to do is take your life seriously. To create it intentionally. To actively make your life into the life you wish it to be.”
  14. “Nobody is interested in the commodity. People buy feelings. And as the world becomes more and more complex, and the commodities more varied, the feelings we want become more urgent, less rational, and more unconscious. How your business anticipates those feelings and satisfies them is your product.”
  15. “The business is a place where everything we know how to do is tested by what we don’t know how to do, and that the conflict between the two is what creates growth, what creates meaning.”
  16. “Great people have a vision of their lives that they practice emulating each and every day. They go to work on their lives, not just in their lives”.
  17. “The key is to plan, envision, and articulate what you see in the future both for yourself and for your employees. Because if you don’t articulate it—I mean, write it down, clearly, so others can understand it—you don’t own it! And do you know that in all the years I’ve been doing this work with small business owners, out of the thousands upon thousands we’ve met, there have only been a few who had any plan at all! Nothing is written, nothing committed to paper, nothing concrete at all.”
  18. “You have to see the pattern, understand the order, and experience the vision”.
  19. “A martial arts practice hall, a dojo, is a place you go to practice being the best you can be. But the true combat in a dojo is not between one person and another as most people believe it to be. The true combat in a martial arts practice hall is between the people within ourselves”.
  20. “With no clear picture of how you wish your life to be, how on earth are you going to live it”?
Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

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