If you are an entrepreneur, and you aren’t reading regularly. Not prolifically, you don’t have time for that, but regularly. You are limiting the size of your toolbox and not growing as a professional. You owe it to your customers and yourself to continue to grow as a business owner.
I picked up Michael Gerber’s book “The Most Successful Small Business in the World” at the library. Those still exist, and they are still free. Finished it in a few hours on the weekend.
I recommend everything Michael Gerber writes, he is that good, and he will change the way you think about your business. Or reinforce the good things you are already doing.
He outlines 10 principles, which I will summarize, to wet your appetite for learning more, not to supplement his writings.
- A small business built rightly can grow 10,000 times its current size.
- A small business is no more effective than the idea upon which it is built.
- You must recognize that a small business is a System in which all parts contribute to the success or failure of the whole.
- A business must be sustainable through all economic conditions, in all markets, providing meaningful, highly differentiated results to all of its customers.
- A small business is a School in which its employees are students, with the intention, will, and determination to grow.
- A small business must manifest the Higher Purpose upon which it was seeded, the vision it was meant to exemplify, the mission it was intended to fulfill.
- A small business is the fruit of a Higher Aim in the mind of the person who conceived it.
- A small business possesses a life of its own, in the service of G-d, in whom it finds reason.
- A small business is an economic entity, driving an economic reality, creating an economic certainty for the communities in which it thrives.
- A small business creates a Standard against which all small businesses are measured as either successful, or not. All small businesses should aim to thrive beyond the standards that formerly existed, whether stated or not.
So, here is a brief explanation of each:
- Be Scalable, if you are a necessary part of every process, or there is no process there isn’t a business, it is you helping people.
- Have a big idea. Is your idea to make some side money? Or are you trying to fill a niche for a community in need? If your goal is to make a few extra bucks, your customers will feel it.
- Be a System. Think in terms of how every part contributes to the whole, a flow of information, goods and services by the people and processes you have in place. And every step needs to positively contribute to that end goal.
- Sustainability. Is your business riding a short term wave of interest or a long term solution to a problem or need? Think Fidget Spinners vs household cleaners.
- Growth. Your business should be constantly learning, reassessing and improving. If that culture isn’t cultivated, it will grow stagnant and fade away. Think Blackberry, they used to be a powerhouse, now they are a joke, because they didn’t evolve.
- Vision. It is more than a business, look at the top companies in the world and their mission statements. They aren’t talking about maximizing shareholder value, they have a higher purpose. Think Toms, where “every purchase has a purpose.” We recently connected with an apparel company, Sovereign Apparel who operates under the same premise of Tom’s but with shirts. Which they give to the homeless. That is vision, they don’t just sell shirts, they support their community.
- Purpose. Your business can’t be an entity designed to support only yourself, if it is to survive past your professional life cycle, it has to be built with that in mind. Otherwise, when you are done. So, is your business.
- Autonomy. In the beginning the business relies upon the owner for everything, but the owner must in addition to actively working within the business be working on the business. It needs to function without the owner.
- Profitability. As much altruism as we want to have within our business, if the business doesn’t make money, there is a limit to how much good it can do. It should be financially rewarding for the owners, and employees. When it does that everyone has more resources to do good within the community.
- Standard. The best businesses in the world don’t measure their success upon their peers. If that is the case, they are a follower, not a leader. Be a leader in your industry.
This book was not written to solve a business owner’s problems, but to help them improve their mindset for the mission and purpose of their business. By following these 10 principles they can grow a more profitable business and make a greater contribution to their community.
We hope that you enjoyed our brief synopsis of Michael E. Gerber’s book, if you have any book recommendations we want to hear them, and we wish you the best of luck with your business.