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I meet a fair number of wannabe entrepreneurs and typically the best advice I can give is to read the E-Myth (which stands for the “Entrepreneurial Myth” but “For Wannabe Entrepreneurs” would be a fitting alternate title). Right after I graduated college a mentor gave me a copy and it changed the way I think about business.

The book has a very simple premise: the vast majority of entrepreneurs are good at what they do but they have one big problem – they are not good business owners. Failed businesses are mostly the result of people who get into business for themselves before they realize that the success of a business is 90% due to their ability to run a business and 10% due to their skill in their area of expertise.

The LA Times today profiles such an example:

Chad T. Takenaka sees himself as a craftsman, not a salesman. So when he bought the model-making shop where he worked, he never dreamed he'd face the dreaded prospect of cold calling people to drum up business. As an employee busy making prototypes and mock-ups, he hadn't noticed how the El Segundo company's previous owners pursued marketing or sales efforts to keep the phone ringing. “I was really naive and thought, 'OK, I've got all my documents and stuff, I am in business,' ” says Takenaka, 41, who bought the California assets of Design Models Inc. in mid-2006. 

The article also offers Takenaka some good advice. Still, it sounds like he needs to go read the E-Myth.

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