The “E” Myth Principle
Working in the Business vs. Working on the Business
Working in the business as a technician is characterized by constant work, struggle and little payoff. A technician trades time for money. Technician’s typically carry out the redundant yet essential tasks in every business. In the VR business these are things like guest communications, scheduling cleaners, cleaning properties and repairs + maintenance. In the burger business, the line chef and cashier are examples.
The manger also works in the business and also trades time for money. The management role is characterized by moderate work, frustration and depending where a person is a manager, “satisfactory” payoff.
It’s important to mention again that it is not wrong or right to take on technician or management responsibilities, they are essential for every business. It is our belief that it is not the highest and best use of a business owner’s time. In fact, we have found some of the best business owners find great people that can carry out technical and managerial responsibilities better than they could themselves. For example, I’m a disaster on a construction site, sure, I can screw in a light bulb because I’m tall, but within an hour on a job site I’ll have some sort of an injury or screw something up or maybe even step on a nail. Contractors that specialize in carpentry are simply better at it then I am, they can get jobs done safer and quicker than I can personally.
We believe the entrepreneurs and business owners’ responsibility is to get access and create the platform and systems for technicians and managers to be the most effective in their role with the highest probability for success. It is the entrepreneurs job to provide training and make the managers and technicians job as easy as possible.
Sounds easy right? How does a VR Owner go from being a technician to a manager to an entrepreneur? How do you create predictable results without you being present? How can you go from 1 to 4 rentals or more elegantly?
It turns out that every business and business model is a series of systems and processes that are carried out by people and technology. How effective each business is depends on the soundness of its foundation and structure. Failures in businesses will happen, but they should not happen consistently. Typically, failures are due to a lack of defined standard operating procedures, systems and processes.
Reproducible Systems + Process = Predictable Results
What Michael Gerber suggests to the readers (aka business owners) is to “document everything.” In fact, he states in the text to “build your business as if one day you were going to sell it.”
Documenting everything in your business creates magic! If someone desires a consistent predictable result, let’s say 5 Star Reviews, they have a couple choices:
1. Justin, a new host, can decide to be the sole contact that interacts with his guests. He does this for all guest communications and all touch points, every time, over and over again, painfully typing out the same responses to the same redundant and predictable questions. Worse, he has to respond to a drain clog in the middle of Thanksgiving Dinner with his wife and two young girls because the the guests kid flushed his sisters Ken doll down the toilet bowl and he does not live in the area.
2. Or Justin can document all the customer touch points, including, what’s communicated, at what time and how the communication is delivered. Once documented, this “system” of scripts can be carried out by another person (preferably with a higher customer service aptitude than Justin) or even automated technology can play a role for the redundant communications. He can even create a system for maintenance emergencies so he can have peace of mind.
When your business systems are documented it allows you to empower others to carry out these tasks and get the result (or better result) as if you were to complete it yourself.
To ultimately, move from a technician to a manager to an entrepreneur one has to get comfortable “letting go of the vine” or said differently “firing yourself.” In extreme cases some business owners just have to let go of their ego, the reality is well trained people can do things just as good or better than most of us. Once the right individual is empowered you will have effectively off-loaded a significant chunk of labor in exchange for TIME, a fair trade for the entrepreneur that wants to grow and not get stuck in the business.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that a person can be both a technician and an entrepreneur. For example, they may be the entrepreneur in their Vacation Rental Biz and a technician working in finance at Berkshire Hathaway. It’s not an either or and most successful business people transition smoothly, out of technician roles, if that is the direction they desire to go. That’s what we did.