From time to time I revisit some seminal business books. This is the case of the E-Myth, which every small business owner and entrepreneur should at least know what is about. Through a number of anecdotes, the author makes his case for building businesses with a system in-place from the very beginning.
In one of the chapters, the concepts of the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur are introduced. These three characters are not different people, but they are rather all living in the business owner’s head. They rarely talk all at the same time, but they take turns, depending on the context, or just the mood of the business owner.
Let’s take a look at each of them and understand why are they important, and why is it also important not to let them take over completely:
This is the part in you that knows the craft. You have probably done this (whatever “this”means!) for years, you understand the market, the industry, and know very much what has to be done to produce a quality output.
Why is it important? It is the basis of the commodity you produce. It is necessary for having domain expertise and know how to create the state of the art.
Why must be kept in check? The business is never the commodity you produce, but the value that you create for your customers. Technicians seek refuge in their craft and generally want to produce what THEY believe the customer SHOULD love. The Technician is at odds with the Entrepreneur who tends to fly high and doesn’t know what can and cannot be done, and is also at odds with the Manager who wants consistency and to follow process, when the Technician just wants to express themselves through their craft.
This is the creative, hard-charging, visionary part in you. The Entrepreneur comes up with new ideas, products to try. Gets excited about the possibilities and drops everything to pursue the next thing.
Why is it important? The only way to move a business forward and face adversity, is with this spirit. The Entrepreneur is what keeps the business evolving and makes sure that there is “business creation”, instead of just putting out products. Without an Entrepreneur, the output that the business generates can lose its appeal.
Why must be kept in check? The Entrepreneur does not like sticking to a predetermined process, they would like to try something new (again!). The Entrepreneur also gives little regard to the craft, to getting product out the door. The Entrepreneur is at odds with the Manager who wants to control things, make them repeatable, and with the Technician, who is the one tasked to execute on some of the crazy ideas the Entrepreneur comes up with.
The Manager is the one who builds a repeatable business. Creates processes, documents them. Trains people to do things the same way. Control costs.
Why is it important? Without a real Manager, there is rarely a sustainable business. The Manager creates value by creating repeatable processes that produce repeatable products and services that customers can buy.
Why must be kept in check? The Manager, left to its own, will create procedures that are so rigid that don’t allow space for creativity, for producing things that are of value for the customer. The Manager is at odds with the Entrepreneur who wants to change things around constantly, and with the Technician who thinks they know the craft enough that there is no need for them to follow process.
Do you recognize these inside you? Do you lean more towards one, or the other?