Why the Amish make entrepreneurship programs look bad

The five principles of Amish small business success that all entrepreneurs can learn from.

Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Two Amish boys ride in a buggy in Nickel Mines, PA in October, 2006. With their strong values and work ethics, Amish entrepreneurs have reached higher levels of success than many other professionally-trained entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship programs like to boast the success rates of their entrepreneurs. Most find that five years out about 80% of the alumni businesses still operating. Not bad when compared to the national average of about 50%.

Well, academic entrepreneurship programs have met their match -- it is the Amish. Recent studies have found their five year success rate to be over 95%!

I am not sure if they are all sending me a challenge for our program results, but no less than six people have sent me the link to a CNN-Money article on the success rates of Amish entrepreneurs.

The Amish secrets for entrepreneurial success? According to Erik Wesner's new book out about the Amish Entrepreneurs in the U.S, it is simple practices:

  1. Hard work and long hours.
  2. Strong faith and values.
  3. Family commitment to the business.
  4. Humble leadership.
  5. Treating the customers well and offering them good value.

All good lessons for entrepreneurs anytime, but particularly in today's economy.

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