If you want to expand your business into new geographic regions but aren’t sure how, I have a book recommendation for you: “The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber.

I am often asked at Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) functions how we grow our business into new markets, and how we maintain consistency in quality 1,000 miles from our corporate office. Even though this book was written 20 years ago, it still is the best reference I can recommend as the answer to these questions.

Gerber discusses the important differences between technicians that work in the business rather being business leaders who work on the business. In practice, businesses should be built on a franchise model basis, even if there are no plans to actually be a franchisor. Entrepreneurs must move away from being technicians by implementing standardized procedures for each and every job function so that the technician can become the leader to drive the future and focus of the company.

This way, if a customer asks that you operate in a different city or state, he or she can expect and receive the exact same service that you have been providing. This sounds very basic, and it is, but most small business owners never stop being the technicians and, therefore, are incapable of growing their businesses outside of their current markets.

According to Gerber, the franchise model works “because, after all, that’s all that any Business Format Franchise really is. It is a proprietary way of doing business that successfully and preferentially differentiates every extraordinary business from every one of its competitors. In this light, every great business in the world is a franchise.”

If you haven’t already read the book, be forewarned: The story used as the example in the book, a pie maker named Sarah, is dreadful.

The dialogue between Gerber and Sarah is painful to read because it is so ridiculous. She is a poor, exhausted, helpless woman and he is almost God-like with all the answers. When he shares his personal career path I almost threw the book in the garbage.
But trust me, get through to around chapter three or four and you will be glad you kept reading.

Whenever he begins comforting poor Sarah, just skim the pages. That aside, the business tactics of successfully growing a business and staying focused on leadership rather than laboring are well worth the read.



Sally Schopmeyer
Maintenance, Inc.


In this best-seller published by HarperCollins, Michael E. Gerber dispels the entrepreneurial myths of starting a business: that someone who starts a company is automatically an entrepreneur; and someone who understands technical work is fit to run a business providing that work.

Using a pie maker as his example, Gerber walks readers through the steps of running a business, from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to a mature perspective on how to run a successful company. According to Gerber, the sure-fire way to succeed is to apply the lessons of franchising to all businesses.