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Ilene Frahm

Written by Ilene Frahm

Ilene joined EMyth in 1982. During her 17 year marriage to Michael Gerber, she collaborated with Michael on The EMyth Revisited and served as his editor and publishing agent on it, as well as on a number of his other books. Ilene spent more than a decade working on EMyth not just in it to build a company that didn’t depend on her. Except for one short stint, she hasn’t held a position in the day-to-day operations of EMyth since she retired as its President in 1999. Ilene and her husband, Gerrit, spend two months a year at their cottage on the north coast of Spain. The rest of the time, she does what she loves: mentoring staff, training salespeople, and supporting everyone in the company, at every level, in their leadership.

On Letting Go: An Entrepreneurial Perspective

This is the third post in our series, Work On It, Not Just In It. You can read the first post here and the second here.

If you sent your team a text today telling them you were never coming back, what would happen? Would your business be able to operate just as well without you?

If the answer is “no,” it’s safe to say that you’ve built your business around your own ability to get things done. If that’s true, your business may be giving you the satisfaction of being “the one” everyone depends on, but at what cost?

Maybe you’re frequently frustrated that your people can’t seem to do things like you do.

Maybe you’re spending a lot of time working without feeling you’re getting anywhere.

Maybe things are just too chaotic and unpredictable.

These are big prices to pay—too big for the investment you’ve made to make your dreams come true.

Topics: Management, Systemization, Leadership

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How to Cultivate Leaders You Trust

Okay—let’s say you’ve taken all the necessary steps to build a self-sustaining business.

You’ve made a clear decision to do it, and you’ve let your desire build.

You’ve let go of unproductive beliefs and are thinking like an Entrepreneur. You’ve come to see your business as a process designed to produce a desired result without you.

You’ve envisioned a business that doesn’t depend on your personal production, and you’ve written your vision down. You’ve imagined a culture where your employees are committed to your picture of the future and share your view of what really matters on the way there.

You’ve freed up your time to work on your business, not just in it. You’ve built systems in every area of your business that stand for what you believe in, and you’ve continuously improved them until they generate consistent, predictable results. You’ve set standards that everyone on your team lives by.

In other words, you’ve created a world of your own that can operate without you.

It’s an incredible accomplishment...but are you done?

It depends.

Topics: Values, Leadership, Hiring

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Systems Will Set You Free

If you want to confidently step away from your business—whether it’s for two weeks, two months, or two years—you need to trust that two key dynamics in your business can operate consistently and predictably whether you’re there or not.

Topics: Company Culture, Systemization, Values

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Building a Self-Sustaining Business is a Choice

Let’s be honest: Building a business that doesn’t depend on you isn’t easy. It’s going to take lots of time, attention, and know-how. You’re going to be drawn into fighting fires you wish weren’t happening; you’re going to worry about having the right resources to create the right results; you’re going to have to make things happen that you don’t really know how to do. At times, you’re going to feel let down by the very people you depend on to free you.

Topics: Leadership, Values, Company Culture

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You CAN Build a Self-Sustaining Business

If you’re fortunate enough to have taken your company on a journey through all of its highs and lows for 5, 10, even 20 years or more, chances are you’ve had those moments when you wished your business weren’t so damn dependent on you. No matter what you’ve achieved, most business owners know in their heart that if they walked away—whether for six months or two weeks—they probably wouldn’t have a business when they got back.

Topics: Systemization, Leadership, Values

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Become the Leader Your Business Demands

If you’ve ever had the thought that you weren’t a good leader or didn’t know how to be one, you’re not alone.

Business owners rarely go into business for themselves in order to become the leader of a company. In truth, most are looking to secure a “job” where they can provide their product or service free of a boss. This orientation—the Technician’s mentality—inevitably creates a business built around their own ability to produce results. It’s the orientation of the vast majority of owner-operated businesses, and it has obvious limitations. You alone can only get so much done. You can only stretch so far. You can only produce the results that you can produce.

Topics: EMyth, Leadership, Values

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Four Steps to Take Back Your Life

Whether you know it or not, the business you have right now, with all of its imperfections, could be your path to the life of your dreams. Your business is supposed to serve your life, not the other way around. Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn’t work that way.

Topics: EMyth, Strategic Planning, Leadership, Values

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Work On It, Not Just In It

If you’re one of the many millions of fans of Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, you know that there’s no message that’s had a more universal impact on business owners than work on it, not just in it. Over the last 30 years, since The E-Myth was first published in 1986, this phrase has become part of the business vernacular.

Topics: EMyth, Strategic Planning, Systemization

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How We're Planning for Our 40th Anniversary

This is the season for planning for the new year and we’ve been talking a lot about it. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late to create your Annual Plan. We have a six step process to get you there. If you really want your business to look, act, feel and perform differently a year from now (Is there anyone who doesn’t?), then plan for it, put a stake in the ground, take in what the past year—or your entire history—is showing you, make a commitment to lead your company in new directions. And then act, small step by small step.

Topics: EMyth, Management, Leadership

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Who Leads Your Sales Conversations? You or Your Prospects?

This is Part Four on how to build a sales system that works. Read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three here.

When you really break it down, a salesperson who has the highest lead to sales conversions is doing one thing better than everyone else: leading the sales conversation.

If you, in your sales role, or your salespeople are not leading the conversations you’re having with prospects, then the only other thing that can be happening is that the prospect is leading. There are only two options.

Topics: Sales, Strategic Planning, Systemization

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