Common Startup Mistake #3: The E Myth

May 5 2019
Phil Bedford Written by Phil Bedford

For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been addressing some of the common startup mistakes that entrepreneurs face.

More than 30 years ago, a man named Michael E. Gerber wrote a book called the “E-Myth.” The book addressed some of the reasons why enterprises fail, and what modern business owners could do about them. Although it’s been years since that book hit the shelves, there’s still a concept within it that’s highly relevant to the corporate environment today.

The “E Myth,” or Entrepreneurial Myth refers to the mistaken belief that the people who start a company automatically have tangible business skills to put into that company. In other words, they already know how to manage their accounts, sell products, and market themselves.

However, the truth is that most companies are started by specialists – people who know a lot about a specific thing. For instance, a hairdresser with expertise in colouring might start their own hairdressing business. However, just because he or she knows all about how to dye hair, doesn’t mean that they also know how to run a successful organization.

You’re Great at Something – But Not at Everything

Some people argue that the principle of the E-Myth is outdated.

The fact that we have access to the internet means that we can learn about everything from accounting to social media marketing in a couple of clicks. However, reading about something doesn’t automatically make you an expert in it. An article on book-keeping won’t stop you from making mistakes on your taxes as well as hiring an accountant would.

Gerber wasn’t the only person with this belief – and he won’t be the last. Steve Canal, the marketer behind “The Mind of a Winner,” says that everyone is good at something. However, adopting a winning mindset for your company means understanding that a single skill isn’t enough. You need to be willing to seek out additional help when necessary too.

The top performers in industries throughout the world today don’t rely on their talent alone to get by. Instead, they collaborate with contractors, freelancers, and even employees, to create a business that has it all.

5 Crucial Experts a Small Business Needs

Up to a certain point, it can be a good idea for business owners to be as frugal and resourceful as possible. If you’re handling the lion’s share of the work in your company, you don’t have to pay for salaries for quite as many people.

However, if you spend too long trying to wear several different hats, then you could end up losing out on opportunities because you simply don’t have enough time in the day. Becoming a successful entrepreneur means getting out of the “expert” mindset and embracing the idea that you’re going to need some help to thrive.

Here are a handful of experts you’ll need to turn to (outside of yourself) when you start a company.

1. An Accountant / Bookkeeper

Tax mistakes are more common than you’d think. Unfortunately, even one wrong number could mean that you end up getting audited by the IRS. That means that your business growth goes on hold, and you’re stuck dealing with paperwork instead of seeking out new sales.

While you might assume that you’ve got the math skills to handle your own accounting needs, that doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about accounting. A professional accountant can make sure that you’re taking advantage of the right deductions and setting your business up for secure future growth. They can be expensive at first, but they pay for themselves in the long-term.

2. PR / Marketing Specialists

Even if you’re offering the most exciting product or service in the world, today’s companies rarely work on an “if you build it, they will come” basis. Marketing and PR strategies are tricky to navigate at the best of times. If you jump in without knowing what you’re getting into, you could end up wasting your valuable budget on strategies that don’t work for you.

A specialist in marketing can build a strategy for promotional growth based on the unique needs of your brand. They can help with everything from social media presence to blogging. There are even free promotional solutions out there if you’re willing to do your research. The right marketing help ensures that your business gets the attention and revenue it needs.

3. Human Resources

As your business begins to grow, you may find that you need more people to help keep it running smoothly. Perhaps you’ll have service agents to support the customers that need help when they buy a product from your store. Maybe you’ll have sales assistants to go out and get new prospects for your organization. You don’t have the time to handle all of your hires yourself, but an HR manager can do it for you.

Aside from handling the hiring and firing processes, HR specialists can also deal with things like payroll, tax forms, and benefits on your behalf. Usually, these experts can help you to keep your focus on growing your business and stop worrying about your employees.

4. IT Professionals

How much of your business will rely on access to the internet or a particular package of software and hardware solutions? IT professionals will ensure that you can keep your company running smoothly, no matter what challenges will come your way. They can help with everything from securing the best possible connections, to eliminating cybersecurity threats.

IT professionals can also be helpful when it comes to protecting business and consumer data. They’ll help and guidance to your teams when they’re having trouble with their email accounts. Some IT professionals will even be able to help your customers if you sell software and digital service packages.

5. Product Managers

Finally, when your small business begins to gain some serious traction, you’ll need a specialist on-board that understands your vision, your products, and what you want to accomplish in the future. Eventually, you’ll need to design new solutions and items to delight your customers. A product manager can help with this and even assist in finding the best time to introduce new products to the masses.

No matter how fantastic your original business ideal might be, you’ll eventually need to look for ways to grow and evolve into new markets and niches. A product manager can be the person that you turn to when you’re looking to make that all-important next step.

Encourage Growth with the Right Business Mindset

Concepts like the E-Myth show us that having the wrong mindset is one of the most common startup mistakes a company owner can face. The good news is that if you’re ready to grow, all you need to do is start looking for the right help.

Maintaining a business is hard work, and no-one expects you to do it alone. If you stick to what you’re good at, you can always turn to other professionals to fill in the gaps.

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