My first introduction to the E-Myth came by way of roofing contractor Joel Thompson of Anthony Roofing, LTD. Roofing Contractor had the opportunity to spend some time visiting with Joel and his world-class roofing operation some six or seven years ago. After the reviews of the facilities and roofs and the interviews were over, Thompson handed me a book with a recommendation that I read it. The book was The E-Myth Manager by Michael Gerber.

I suspected the day would come when I would be sharing it with Roofing Contractor, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with author and entrepreneur Gerber about his books and his life's work.

The Accidental Consultant

Michael Gerber, 69, is an engaging and passionate when speaking of his work. Gerber began his consulting career when, on the invitation of a friend, he spent some time with a business owner to help him deal with some business issues. Gerber, a carpenter at the time, claimed no knowledge of business, and certainly not the business under discussion. In fact, he had no idea why his friend thought he could be of any help whatsoever. But he came away from the experience with the first of two "epiphanies" that led to his career as a writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed leader of the small-business revolution known as the E-Myth.

Gerber went into this meeting assuming that if you own a business, you must certainly know how to run a business. He found that this was not the case. In fact, Gerber believes that many small businesses were founded by former technicians-not entrepreneurs. The assumption that small business owners are true entrepreneurs is the E-Myth. According to Gerber, most small business owners do not have a background in organizing and managing a business, and thus either struggle to learn how to run their companies or join the ranks of small business failures.

The System Is the Solution

The second epiphany Gerber experienced was when he walked into a McDonalds and discovered that "This works!" The system that McDonald's founder Ray Croc put together was able to successfully replicate delivery of a reliably good product in a clean environment over and over. So, after two years of one-on-one consulting, Gerber went to work devising a system designed to bring business consulting to small business owners at a price they can afford. The system is called E-Myth Mastery.

The seven points of E-Myth Mastery are leadership, marketing, money, management, lead generation, lead conversion, and client fulfillment. The system uses a unique business consulting model that leverages technology to connect business owners and consultants instead of relying on expensive face-to-face meetings.

The E-Myth revolution began with The E-Myth, the first of seven business books by Gerber. The E-Myth Revisited, the updated version of The E-Myth, has been translated into over 20 languages and has sold several million copies. Another book, The E-Myth Contractor, addresses issues specific to the business of contracting rather than the work of it, focusing on topics such as planning, money, personnel management, subcontractors, customers, and growth.

Addressing a Key Need

The idea that many roofing contractors started out as contractors quite literally still wearing a tool belt is certainly nothing new. The popularity of the business columns in this publication speak volumes about the challenges that roofing contractors face every day keeping their small business moving forward.

Roofing contractors have complained for years about competitors who start in the business who "just don't know how to price a job" or "won't be in business long enough to stand behind their work." There may be some complaints about workmanship, but when I hear one contractor complain about other contractors, it is almost always a complaint about their ability to run a business. I cannot tell you from experience that E-Myth Mastery will work for you, but I can point to the obvious, and that is that many roofing contractors are in need of some kind of help to truly take command of their businesses.

So I say find out for yourself by picking up The E-Myth Revisited or The E-Myth Contractor. Another way to learn about the E-Myth system is to join us next month at the Best of Success Conference in Dallas. (For more information, see page 63 of this issue or visit Contractor Gary Nash is set to speak about how the E-Myth processes saved his business and changed his life. Roofing Contractor also plans a series of articles by Michael Gerber over the course of the next year to add to our top-drawer lineup of contributors who write on roof-contracting business issues. You may pick up information on all of the E-Myth solutions online at