Sunday, October 14, 2012

What can business students / MBA students learn from the Amish way of life?

From the link:

1) Pursue Simplicity
Simple solutions to common problems are often cheaper and more effective than complex ones. For instance, buying a new riding lawnmower may make life easier right now, but there is likely a higher cost of ownership in the long run compared to a traditional push mower.
2) Embrace Community
Using family or communities to help out can help reduce costs for large and small projects. For instance, asking neighbors to help lay bricks for a new patio is far less expensive than hiring contractors to do the same thing. Joining a local running club can be far cheaper than buying a gym membership.
3) Maximize Resources
Reduce, reuse and recycle are three terms that aren't used enough in modern society. From handing down clothing to using an old laptop as an Internet TV box, there are many different ways to maximize what we have in order to avoid buying new products.
4) Do It Yourself
DIY projects can help save money and build new skills. For instance, many simple home repairs can easily be accomplished by reading an article online or watching a YouTube video. Cooking meals at home can save hundreds of dollars each month in unnecessary spending at restaurants and cafes.
5) Avoid Taking on DebtDebt may be an effective tool for leveraging your money, but debt can quickly become a costly trap. By avoiding debt, the Amish avoid these traps and the consequences that result from them.
Amish Tips for BusinessesThe Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that only half of businesses survive after their first five years, while only a quarter stay in business for more than 15 years. On the other hand, Amish businesses have a five-year success rate approaching 95%, according to a 2009 study by Elizabethtown College sociology professor Donald Kraybill.
WHY ARE AMISH BUSINESSES SUCCESSFUL? Erik Wesner's book "Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive" provides some good insight:
1) Do What You KnowAmish business owners tend to focus on things they know well, while making conservative, slow, deliberate and mindful decisions.
2) Be DisciplinedThe Amish culture is also known for its discipline and responsibility, which are attributes that many businesses lack.
3) The Bottom LineThe Amish may live a simplistic lifestyle, but they offer great advice to modern societies when it comes to business and finance.

More from the link:

The Amish are among the best new business incubators in the country.  Here are 8 social marketing best practices that cause their businesses to thrive.
  1. FORM YOUR BUSINESS AND NETWORK AROUND SHARED VALUES:  Amish home builders, for example, don’t begin a business thinking about the financial pay-off.  It’s more around values like being able to mentor employees or form lasting relationships with customers.  They place values before rewards.
  2. REPLACE FEAR WITH FAITH:  If fear is a driver, you’re out for yourself and what you can grab today.  If faith is the driver, you’re part of a larger belief system where there is a source of strength and security and hope appears when hard times occur.
  3. PRE-INSTALL THE FAMILIAL ASPECT:  When a family is in need, an Amish community gets together and raises a barn in a day; something that would take that family months to do on their own.  Everyone in the community is automatically treated as if they were an immediate member of the family.
  4. HELP PEOPLE AND PROFITS HAPPEN:  The need to make a profit never is expressed.  When you help people, profits come.
  5. COMMIT TO CRAFTSMANSHIP:  To show high quality craftsmanship in what you produce is proof of your principles.  It also establishes a reputation that commands a premium price.
  6. PITCH IN ON THE UNPLEASANT TASKS:  The Amish are masters of leadership by example.  When you pitch in on unpleasant tasks, it reinforces how important the goals are and helps others in the community learn faster.
  7. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION:  There is no substitute for excellent customer service and showing appreciation to your best customers.  That’s because the Amish know there is no better way to build business than word-of-mouth.
  8. REPLICATE SUCCESS THROUGH STORYTELLING: The practice of storytelling is a bedtime ritual.  But it’s also a way to use a compelling narrative to reinforce principles that work and have success repeat itself.

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