Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Fatal Assumption

In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber, writes about how a technician starting a small business can make a fatal assumption.

The Fatal Assumption
Gerber writes:

"That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.

And the reason it's fatal is that is just isn't true. In fact, it's the root cause of most small business failures!

The technical work of a business and a business that does that technical work are two totally different things!"
A Place to Go to Work
Gerber writes:
"But the technican who starts a business fails to see this. To the technician suffering from an Enterpreneurial Seizure, a business is not a business but a place to go to work.

So the carpenter, or the electrician, or the plumber becomes a contractor. The barber opens up a barber shop. The technical writer starts a technical writing business. The hairdresser starts a beauty salon. The engineer goes into the semiconductor business. The musician opens up a music store.

All of them believing that by understanding the technical work of the business they are immediately and eminently qualified to run a business that does that kind of work. And it's simply not true!"
Greatest Single Asset or Greatest Liability?
Gerber writes:
"In fact, rather than being their greatest single asset, knowing the technical work of their business becomes their greatest liability.

For if the technician didn't know how to do the technical work of the business, he would have to learn how to get it done. He would be forced to learn how to make the business work, rather than do the work himself."
The Technician's Nightmare
Gerber writes:
"The real tragedy is that when the technician falls prey to the Fatal Assumption, the business that was supposed to free him from the limitations of working for somebody else actually enslaves him.

Suddenly the job he knew how to do so well becomes one job he knows how to do plus a dozen others he doesn't khnow how to do at all. Because although the Entrepreneurial Seizure started the business, it's the technician who goes to work.
And suddenly, an entrepreneurial dream turns into a technician's nightmare."

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