When you think of the Amish people what comes to mind? Horse drawn buggies, they dress differently, rigid beliefs, no electricity, farmers? Each of the these are true, but they are just what the “world” sees.
When you pull back the curtain, what is really there is a small close community of entrepreneurs. Most Amish are self-employed. Contrary to popular belief they are not all farmers for the cost of farm land has driven many younger Amish out of the business.
Without writing a book about the Amish and their religious beliefs, I’ll highlight key take-a-ways that every small business can implement.
The Amish have an astounding business success rate. They average over 95% success rates vs. the national average of less than 50%. What do they know that you don’t?
It comes down to a couple key areas:
Focus: They don’t TRY a business, they start and focus on it and stay with it. You don’t see an Amish furniture maker also trying to sell BBQ, they focus on what they do well and then Do It Well!
Quality: Because of their discipline and focus, they are well known and respected for their quality. If you have a roof put on by an Amish roofer, you will probably never need him to come back and make a repair. They are so good at quality the word Amish has almost become synonymous with quality.
Time Management: When they go to work, they are there to WORK. You don’t see them texting and checking Facebook statuses of their friends. And yes, many Amish DO have technology at their work, they are just disciplined in how they use it.
Work Life Balance: This one is probably the most startling to me. How is it, they can accomplish so much when they are home for dinner, never get online at home, never take calls at home after hours and never reply to a single email at home? Remember, they don’t have phones or internet IN their homes. When they are home, they are in the moment with their family. They never, and I mean never work on Sundays. They achieve their success with these personal restrictions they impose because of three reasons: Focus, Quality and Time Management. The first three characteristics of Amish businesses are so ingrained in their work day that they don’t need the afterhours to catch up on everything they didn’t accomplish while running errands or Googling the habits of the sloth during mating season. When they are at work, they are at work. When they are at home, they are at home with their family, end of story.
Teamwork: They don’t seek attention. In fact, the way they dress is actually designed to NOT bring attention to themselves in their community. It’s called “Plain.” Now, the outside world notices them, but that is because we feel the way they dress is unusual, but if you take a moment to notice, their dress is not bright and colorful. They are not attention seekers, they are living and breathing as a member of a community. They don’t seek attention, they seek accomplishing what is put before them. Want a crash course in teamwork? Go watch a barn raising and tell me they don’t work well with others!
How much would your business success improve if you were to implement these 5 Amish traits? I’m willing to bet if you implemented each of them, and did so with passion, you would not recognize your business by the end of the year.
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