by Dave Macdonald on February 1, 2011


January 28th was an exciting day for me. Michael E. Gerber, probably most famous for his 1985 book, The E-Myth came to Vancouver and was hosted by Gary Bizzo, a local Business Coach and Mentor, and Vera Unwin.

Gerber’s E-Myth is a book that inspired Yupana. It is full of stories and insights that help someone like me guide my business clients in a variety of areas. Gerber’s general approach in the book is to help business owners work on the business as opposed to at, in or for the business. This is an important notion – no one I know has started a business to become an employee, they started in order to be their own boss.

This is something I aim to do with my small business clients. In addition to the systems that Gerber talks about (quite often closely related with franchise models), I look to help liberate business owners through seamless administrative organization, relevant metrics and sound financial management and also through ensuring a thorough understanding of their basic business model to keep lean and efficient.

So how was Friday’s talk? I think a few people went in expecting a seamless presentation and the opportunity to have some kind of mentally downloadable version of Gerber’s book made available to them. I believe those folks left disappointed – if they even stayed until the end.

Gerber demonstrated how he relates to small business people – he’s real. He curses, gets tripped up despite having his stories down and he’s very committed to his religious beliefs. One level, I didn’t feel like he delivered very much at first.

Then I started to pay attention. I put my feet flat on the floor and readjusted so that I was fully present. Despite the imperfections of the delivery, I took home a gem that will not only justify the time and expense of attending, but one that will radically enhance Yupana’s services and delivery.

When I did the coursework for my Certified Management Accountant designation, one of the core concepts of strategy was to develop an organizations Vision, Mission and Values. Brief and incomplete definitions of these as I understand them, and have used them, are as follows:

* Vision: Describes the organization’s long-term goals in a non-exact fashion. Sometimes referred to as publicly stating the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Should also relate to the “Why?” of an organization.
* Mission: Describes exactly what the organization does on a tactical level (who, what and where).
* Values: These are qualities that the organization, and everyone within it, demonstrates in executing the Mission and working towards the Vision.

Instead of these three statements, Gerber suggested a group of four statements that turned the way I approach Yupana on its head:

* Dream Statement: The great result for others that your work will create.
* Vision Statement: The “how” of the dream. What is it that needs to happen in order for the dream to come true?
* Purpose Statement: The “who” of the dream. What will you be doing for people or organizations? How will they feel or who will they become?
* Mission: The tactical “how” that describes exactly what is to be done in order to achieve the Purpose.

The Dream Statement is the thing that reminds you that making money doesn’t matter, in and of itself. It’s what lets you remember that your business serves for something bigger than you and has the chance to be meaningful to someone else. For people who don’t think that makes money, there’s no safer place to be than having a bunch of raving fans who believe your business to be meaningful.

-Dave Macdonald, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). He has been working with small and medium-sized businesses in Vancouver since 2003. His blog is

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