Business lessons from Amish people

 

Amish products for sale

They say that life lessons can be found in the most unlikely places. The same can be said for lessons in business. Although they live incredibly different lives from the rest of society, the Amish do offer some important lessons about business that all business people and entrepreneurs can use. They also have some credibility in the field which is something you would not expect. The Amish have an exceedingly high success rate for new businesses, much higher than the rest of society. New Amish businesses have about a 95% chance to stay in business for the first 5 years. Compare that to about a 50% rate for the rest of the U.S. and Canada.

The Amish are known for being very modest in their thinking and personality. For business as we know it, this is not always an important trait to have and sometimes can be detrimental to the entrepreneur’s success. It is well known that people want to be around and do business with successful people. An entrepreneur that is not modest has the advantage of appearing more successful than he/she actually is sometimes, which helps attract others to do business with them. However, not being modest can have a drawback which is that one can try to do too many things thinking he can’t fail.

Amish people tend to stick only to what they know and will not expand too quickly or to new industries. Due to their much slower pace of life, they do not feel the pressure to grow as quickly and are more likely to only expand when it truly makes sense. For the rest of us, it is sometimes more difficult to know when it is truly the right time to expand and in what way because we have a lot of noise and pressures around us. Entrepreneurs often feel that they are in competition; competition with time, goals and their peers. Although this thinking has the obvious advantage of pushing one to achieve more, it also blurs the line of what one should do and what one can do in order to try to succeed.

The Amish don’t really have these thoughts and so they are able to assess their options more clearly. The rest of us can also do this but we need to be honest with ourselves and our options. We need to look at every option and think what the pros and cons will be and include what role that competition noise we have in our heads play in wanting to make certain choices.

The Amish are also good at one another aspect of work but it relates more to life than business. They always make sure to not work too much and allow the business to become their entire life. They are able to keep some aspects of their life business-free, such as family time. This may seem counter-productive but it is actually very good for business. Stepping away from the business and work mentally will allow the entrepreneur to gain perspective and rest. This is will help once he/she returns to work because it will increase the efficiency and will often make the same decisions and plans that seemed so difficult, no-brainers. It will also enable them to gain the insight and perspective of outsiders which is very important and useful.

Although new business success rates will likely never be 95% for us as they are in the Amish community, by learning these lessons from them we can increase our rates from the numbers they are currently.