Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Who Is Five Times More Likely to Succeed — And Why?

The Amish people are probably best known for living simply, wearing plain clothes and avoiding modern conveniences like cars and telephones. Yet, somehow, these people — who value religious faith and a humble disposition — are five times more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs than the rest of us. According to a recent study in the Global Business and Economics Review, the failure rate of Amish businesses is less than 10% in the first five years, compared with 50% of small businesses in the U.S. over the same time period.

Author Erik Wesner, author of Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive, spent three years living and working with the Amish to understand some of the secrets of their entrepreneurial success, which he revealed in an interview with TIME magazine. They include the following five values, which have relevance for everyone in business today:

• Never ask an employee to do something that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself.
• Value relationships over onetime deals.
• Cultivate a rigorous work ethic.
• Learn to work outside your comfort zone.
• It’s all in the details: make sure the product — or service! — you deliver is carefully crafted.

I like to think that I share these values, and they have helped contribute to our firm’s success over the past thirty years.

As TIME reporter Andrea Sachs says, “There's life in commerce for those more dedicated to the Golden Rule than the golden calf.”

Technorati Tags: Amish, Global Business and Economics Review, McKinsey, Erik Wesner,communications, public relations, Makovsky

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