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Inside Small Biz Guru Michael Gerber's Dreaming Room
 

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This is live from best-selling E-Myth author Michael Gerber's Dreaming Room workshop at the Inc. 5000 conference. It's 2:10 PM and he's talking louder and louder. The room is packed... looks like over 100 entrepreneur-attendees. He speaks extemporaneously. Pauses a lot. References Ray Kroc and McDonald's repeatedly. The room is rapt.

Kroc created a system that's replicable, that is simple, that can be taught in every detail, that delivers predictable value to every customer. "And the food is terrible! If he can do it, you can do it."

Dressed in a dark suit and red tie (not his trademark white suit and pink tie), the 72-year-old Gerber sits on a barstool at the front of the room. He's surprisingly short. No podium. No slides.

One of his central points is that most entrepreneurs are working in their businesses, but not on them. They are slaves to the get-it-out-the-door, make payroll, just keep going mentality. That's not what a successful business is, he says. Heads nod.

"Successful entrepreneurs possess four characteristics: Dreamer, Thinker, Storyteller, Leader."

Here's what's stupid, he says. "You say you want to be your own boss. But why do you want to work for a stupid boss? You have to transform the world with your business."

Write this down, he says: "I have a dream, I have a vision, I have a purpose, I have a mission." The dream is the outcome or result. The vision is the method. The purpose is the great "who" - you're doing this for someone, to transform their life. The mission is the how, the tactical mission.

Some great nuggets so far:

- What a successful company does is turn a commodity into a product (Starbucks, FedEx, McDonald's)

- How do you make your company the coin of the realm (FedEx it; I need a Starbucks)?

- It's not about brilliant ideas, it's about looking at obvious things a little differently

- The sole difference between Apple and Microsoft is that (Steve) Jobs is an idealist and (Bill) Gates was a pragmatist

- Most small businesses are already out of business and they don't even know it

More TK. He's just finished and I'm going to go ask him some questions.

Update: Here's my brief Q & A with Michael. I asked why it was so difficult to figure out what business you're in. He responded that I hadn't understood him. The challenge is to figure out what the result of your business is.

Last updated: Sep 18, 2008




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