An Entrepreneur, A Manager, and A Technician Walk Into A Bar…

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

I just finished reading “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber, and like so many other entrepreneurs and small business owners, I can’t help but feel Gerber was talking directly to me.

I had heard about this book for a while, but remained skeptical, assuming it was like so many other business books from self-proclaimed business gurus.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The most profound observation I came across was Gerber’s idea that everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one:

  • The Entrepreneur — A dreamer who looks to the future, seeks control, and thrives amidst chaos.
  • The Manager — A planner who lives in the past, strives for order, and is pragmatic in his/her decision-making.
  • The Technician — A doer who lives in the present, pursues progress, and focuses on working through tasks, one at a time.

Individually, each personality is absolutely crucial to building a successful business. The trouble comes when you combine the three together into an imperfect mix, which happens with most entrepreneurs and small business owners and leads to a majority of businesses failing.

The other crucial piece to Gerber’s puzzle is the Franchise Prototype. It is the initial model that eventually becomes the building block for systematizing, franchising, and scaling any business.

According to Gerber, the Franchise Prototype is the key element in balance all three personalities above:

  • It gives The Entrepreneur an initial vehicle to bring their vision into the physical world;
  • It allows The Manager to create order through establishing initial systems that will guide the business; and
  • It provides The Technician with guidance and a platform for executing the technical work necessary to implement the systems.

Ultimately, the prototype allows a business owner to satisfy the needs and desires for each of the three personalities.

After reading this, I started thinking about my day-to-day tasks and activities and realized, like so many other entrepreneurs, I tend to allow one personality to overtake the others.

The Entrepreneur in me is always focused on the long-term vision of my company. It reviews that vision every single day in order to instill the motivation in the other personalities needed to continue forward.

My inner Manager constantly takes this vision and breaks it down into action steps that are more immediate and tangible. This helps provide forward momentum for the other two personalities.

However, it is The Technician that seems to take over most of the time. Thanks to The Entrepreneur and The Manager, he remains aligned with the long-term vision and is always productive, but he isn’t always focused.

Actually, let me rephrase that: he is too focused.

The Technician in me tends to get stuck in the weeds. In my case, those weeds look like minute design details due to my background as a designer.

Whether it is the branding of my company, the layout of an operations manual, or the design of an app, those details begin to take over, and this is exactly why so many entrepreneurs and business owners fail. The Technician takes the wheel and has trouble letting go.

I imagine I’m not the only one who struggles with this realization day-to-day. After all, we all usually start as a technician, honing a specific craft.

Luckily, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and after reading The E-Myth Revisited, I’ve already identified this problem and next steps to making sure it doesn’t ultimately end my company.

I would strongly urge you to do the same.

Have you read Michael E. Gerber’s entrepreneurial Bible? Do you have trouble balancing all three personalities? What are you doing about it? 
Please feel free to share your story in the comments below or on Twitter
Check out The Imperfectionist for more on turning ideas into action!