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See Like an Entrepreneur

Find out how successful entrepreneurs see the world -- and how you should see it, if you want to find success.

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If you've been reading my column every month on or if you've been reading my trilogy of E-Myth books--The E-Myth Revisited, The E-Myth Manager, and my latest, E-Myth Mastery--then you know I have a particular mindset about the word and function and role called "The Entrepreneur."

In this column, I intend to delve deeper into the word, function and role of the entrepreneur by sharing with you how every great--and therefore successful--entrepreneur sees the world.

Let's get right to it. And keep this column. If you write down the key points I'm going to give you here, you can take it to the bank that you'll never see your world exactly the same again and that the impact this new way of seeing will have on everything you do from now on will amaze you.

Point #1: The entrepreneur is a systems thinker. She sees everything as a system. She sees the business she intends to create as a system. She sees the end game she's going to produce--in other terms, her exit strategy--as a systems opportunity. She sees everything as an opportunity to create synergy between how the business attracts a customer, how the business converts that customer into cash flow, and how the business continuously fulfills the promise it makes to its customers to turn those customers into clients.

She sees her business as an enterprise, not simply a small thing. She sees it as a wish about to be fulfilled, as something dramatically scalable. And she sees, if not exactly, how to roll that out: She presses and presses and presses the question to the point where she discovers how to roll that out. And remarkably, what she discovers--always--is a system!

Point #2: The entrepreneur is a visionary. That means before he ever gets down into the doing it, he's primarily one who sees the business visually. To him, the business is first and foremost a vision, a picture. And a picture has shape, size, colors, form. And all of that is seen as signs, and floors, and walls, and people, and how the look, the color and style of their dress, the napkins, the windows, the logo, the stationary, the inventory, the trucks, the cars, everything you can see in a business is a significant component of the completed visual system.

How it looks is the ball game, at least to the great entrepreneur it is. Just like it must have been and is today to the great entrepreneur in the sky, the creator of all. (You know who I mean.) Just as the world, the universe, and everything in it has visual electricity--if you would only look--so must the entrepreneur's business have visual electricity. See it, see it, see it!

Point #3: The entrepreneur is a marketing maniac. To the true entrepreneur, who I insist upon calling an E-Myth entrepreneur wherever and whenever I find him, the entire business is the fulfillment of the promise the entrepreneur makes. "On time, every time!" is such a promise. "When you care enough to give the very best!" is such a promise. "The lowest prices...guaranteed!" is such a promise. The promise, the promise, the promise.

You get to make one promise to your customer to grab his or her attention, and only one promise. And that promise has got to define you in the world, in your customers' mind. Look around, and you'll see the promises underlying the most extraordinary companies in the world, which are all entrepreneurial companies, which are all marketing companies, which, every single one of them, make a promise and keep that promise, and therefore hold a special place in the minds and hearts of their customers.

The entrepreneur is responsible for seeing that promise and understanding why and how his company must operate in such a deliberate way as to keep that promise, every single time. The entrepreneur is a marketing maniac. His passion, his persistence, his dogged determination to invent a company that makes and keeps a promise which defines it in the world as preferentially unique--that is his reason for being.

Point #4: The entrepreneur is a fanatic for detail. I've talked above in points 1, 2 and 3 about seeing, and that's the entire point of this column: that if the entrepreneur can't see it, it doesn't exist. Which means that the Entrepreneur sees his or her company as though it were a product, a widget, a thing, just like a computer or an automobile or a chair is a thing. And every thing in the world is made up of details. Every thing in the world is constructed, thoughtfully, patiently, intentionally, piece by piece by small, often unobservable pieces.

The entrepreneur is fascinated by how those pieces fit together to make up his or her extraordinarily functional, wonderfully visual and emotionally satisfying business. See the pieces. See how they fit together. See how they're engineered to produce a lasting impact. See how they wear under wear. See how they hold up when you apply pressure to them. See how the napkins are placed in the napkin holder. See how that works when the customer takes napkin. Have you ever experienced difficulty taking a napkin out of a napkin holder in a restaurant? Of course you have! You pull one, and you get six! They come out of that infernal aluminum box in a clump. You use one, waste five. Any entrepreneur worth his or her salt would see that immediately, and do something about it.

That's what I mean when I say an entrepreneur is a fanatic for detail. Every little part of a business either contributes to that business' success--or to its failure. Every great entrepreneur knows that businesses fail because of all the little things that don't work. That explains his fanaticism. Make it work! Make it work better than any other business! Make the napkin holder work. Make the doormat work. Make the sign work, and the little letters work, and every single light work.

You get my point. Go to work on your business, not in it, and you'll begin to put these things to work for you, as opposed to because of you. And then you'll fully understand what I mean by the entrepreneur's point of view.

Michael Gerber is the founder and chairman of E-Myth Worldwide, where he invented a revolutionary small-business development system that's been proven in thousands of businesses across the globe. Since 1977, Gerber has been sharing his business success strategies with millions of fans of his E-Myth books, audiotapes and programs. As a business-coaching pioneer and bestselling author, Gerber has changed the face of small business by providing entrepreneurs with an innovative and stunningly clear understanding, capability and process to transform any small business into a world-class enterprise.