Top critical review
A core business principal clouded by subjective and overly-focussed opinion
30 September 2013
There are many ideas and opinions on the methods for ensuring a successful business and these ideas often succeed or fail in roughly equal numbers. At their heart, however, they all have one germ of agreement. As comedian Harry Hill used to say "You've got to have a system."
Gerber's method is basically saying the same thing. You need to plan out how your business is going to work, document it and make sure everyone in your organisation follows the plan. This is a fine idea and one that small and fledgeling companies need to be reminded of. The problem is that the book surrounding the idea sounds like an evangelical speech made at a conference, complete with overly schmaltzy anecdotes and a large dollop of opinion.
The primary opinion raised frequently in the book is one that I wholeheartedly disagree with and judging by internet opinion I'm not alone, with reports and articles calling Gerber out for the same point. He states that you need to organise your business around employing unskilled staff willing to follow a system to the letter. This ONLY works if you come to the conclusion that 'The E-myth Revisited' is an instruction manual in how to design and sell a turnkey franchise business. Gabe Newell, boss of the successful software company Valve, professed the opposite, stating that you should only hire people who are better than you at the task you're hiring them for. A sensible point of view for those wishing to improve the performance and quality of their company, services and goods, but not a good point for those wishing to sell a business plan to franchisees.
With that point in mind, the rest of the book takes on more of the tone of a snake oil salesman, making it difficult to accept some of the points because the cynicism shield has been well and truly erected. The clumsy anecdotal story scattered throughout the book feels like the shill offering to buy the professor's marvellous tonic. This is unfortunate, since the latter sections of the book is where the really helpful information is.
Basically, Gerber has tried to take the 'How to Sell a Franchise' training courses and seminars his company creates and tried to distil them into a single volume. However, he then wraps it all up in inappropriate advice for the general business owners the book purports to be for. A shame.