"Without a clear picture of the customer, no business can succeed." I’m re-reading The E Myth right now and 15 years later am still amazed at how keen the insights are into the world of launching successful organizations. And how you begin is clearly a very important distinction.
Michael E. Gerber’s premise is an important one for all of us to wrestle with right at the outset. You don’t start with "a picture of the business to be created" but instead with a picture "of the customer for whom the business is to be created." Huge. Think about the implications for organizations attempting to use a template that works for someone else, somewhere else. Think about all the churches that have been planted with the template that Willow Creek or Saddleback have created. That’s an example of thinking about the business to be created BEFORE you think about YOUR own potential customers. Granted, it might work. But you also might find that your own potential customers are way different than those in South Barrington or Lake Forest.
What can be done? It all begins with a serious analysis of your own potential customer base. Only then can you seriously enter the design process that will build a system that is effective.
For more on your potential customer base, check out Who Is Your Primary Customer