Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth series and, most recently, Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, internationally renowned speaker on entrepreneurship, and head of E-Myth Worldwide, a company designed to help entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses, recently talked to Suite101’s Business and Finance editor about the best business opportunities for entrepreneurs today.
What is the most commonly asked question you receive from readers and how do you answer it?
Michael Gerber: The question I get most often is “what is the greatest business opportunity today?” But really, the answer is that the biggest opportunity is for any ordinary business for which there is a significant need, and which can be executed in an extraordinary way. The business must be able to become a brand and produce a result that others have not figured out how to do. Most extraordinary companies are in the commodities business – only they’ve figured out how to do it differently. Starbucks is a great example of this. They are unique in an ordinary world but have created a significant result. Anyone can be a success with some imagination and the desire to effect results.
Business opportunities are everywhere, but what possibilities do you see in the online world now that the Internet has matured and we’ve arrived in the Web 2.0 era?
Michael Gerber: Obviously the Internet has changed things for businesses and entrepreneurs. But really, everything is also still the same. The Internet is just another medium that gives businesses the capability to automate that which wasn’t automatable before. But the reality is that the same skills are critical, and the same excitement and vision is needed to succeed.
I call this the Age of the Entrepreneur because it’s a great time for people who are not just interested in making money and being able to buy things, but who are determined to transform the world in whatever way they elect to do that. There are so many opportunities for inventing companies that can transform the world, and for companies that are scalable, meaning they can grow exponentially. And these are the two essential ingredients for a successful business.
For people who haven’t read the E-Myth series, could you encapsulate the main message that runs through your books?
Michael Gerber: The E-Myth refers to the Entrepreneurial Myth – that people are not entrepreneurs, they are technicians suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure. They are so caught up in doing the work, that they lose sight of the actual business. The most extraordinary thing they can do is to study entrepreneurship – or the act of designing a business.