The lessons of learning “Business 101” as a child are invaluable, and the benefits will last them a Lifetime. Whether you have the opportunity to start an actual business, or help them run a fundraiser for school, being involved in developing a product and seeing a monetary return on their effort helps to establish a good work ethic and exposes them to important business techniques such as:
- Setting core company or product values
- Practicing good customer service
- Managing money
- Negotiating business deals
Here are some tips to help you raise your young entrepreneurs:
Model your Household after the Quintessential Entrepreneur: the Traditional Family Farmer
On the traditional family farm, the whole family plays a part to ensure the chickens are fed, the soil is tilled, and the cows get milked. The kids are part of the family business, and witness the results of their efforts, such as crops that turn into dinner at the table, or money brought in by selling vegetables at the farmer’s market. Seeing this firsthand helps to instill an independent business mindset and can inspire entrepreneurial thinking. Doing what you can to set up your household as a business, with the children playing a part in daily chores, errands, and helping each other accomplish certain projects, gives them an opportunity to see the benefits of setting goals, working hard and being held accountable in achieving those goals.
Help your Kids Identify Business Opportunities
Business opportunities are all around us, and ebb and flow with the economy. Look for fun start-up companies selling products and services your children are interested in and ask your children if they would be interested in running a business like that someday. Starting small, with a lemonade stand, a cookie fundraiser, or any opportunity to produce a product and bring in money will help develop their entrepreneurial spirit.
Value your Kids’ Opinions
Whether it’s discussing a business idea or listening to why “Childish Gambino” is the most amazing artist of their generation, hear your children out! You may not agree with them, but listening to their opinion shows them they are valued and teaches them they have a voice. A child that feels valued will learn the confidence to explore their ideas, exercise creativity and trust their opinions. Trusting oneself, even if it seems like a crazy idea, is the core of American entrepreneurship.
Parents, Sell your Helicopter!
Thomas Edison once said:
“I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
Think of Thomas’s mother running in after his first failed attempt at developing the light bulb to save him from the disappointment of failure. If she had, would we be living in the dark or would the credit of inventing the light bulb been given to another inventor? Allow your children to fail. It will provide them the opportunity to learn. Always encourage them to try again. The only failure is in giving up.
In Summary, Expose your Kids to Business Opportunities
Providing your child opportunities to learn how business works and supporting their creativity will result in confident children who will grow up to be confident adults. Whether they start their own business, run a farm, or go on to become the president of Google, exposing them to the reason businesses exist, how business works, and how anyone with enough grit and determination can run one, will give them a head start on a successful life.