If you’re a kid or teen who would like to start a business, then it’s time to start! Like any activity, it takes practice to become successful at entrepreneurship. You are at the perfect age to gain this valuable experience and learn how to launch. Remember, every successful entrepreneur was once a kid just like you.
1. Choose a business: Let them pursue their passion.
It’s important that your child is passionate about what he or she is doing. You want them to enjoy the experience and not lose interest and be back on the couch at the end. If your child doesn’t already have a specific business idea in mind, have them make a list of their favorite things to do, this process is a learning experience; the end result doesn’t necessarily matter.
2. Set goals and make a plan: Have your child think about all the nuts and bolts needed to turn their idea into a reality. What kind of equipment, supplies or training do they need? They should write down their goals for the business, including both financial goals and anything else they want to achieve. It will be fun and educational to revisit these goals.
3. Introduce the concept of money management:
A summer business is a great way to introduce kids to basic money management skills as well as complex topics like calculating gross profits and managing overhead. Teenagers can keep track of income and business expenses. Younger kids can practice adding up price totals and counting change. You may need to give your child money to kick start their business. If so, have them itemize all their upfront costs, so they know exactly how much is needed. You could offer to fund a certain amount, as long as they contribute some of their own birthday money or allowance. You could even hold an investor meeting where your child pitches their idea to you and outlines their financial needs.
4. Work on customer service and communication skills:
Being an effective communicator and empathetic listener are essential building blocks for entrepreneurship. Help your child develop how to succinctly explain their product/service and understand their business’ value proposition. Stress the importance of customer service, and encourage your child to listen to and accommodate special requests when needed.
5. Be logical: Okay, so you now have your business idea. But try to stay logical: can it actually make you money? If your business doesn’t make money, you just have a hobby. Sales is the most important thing in business. Sure, you love cooking, but how are you going to make money? Be reasonable and don’t overestimate people’s willingness to buy. A common mistake by entrepreneurs is spending too much time building a perfect product/service without seeing if anyone actually wants it. So, test your idea on others before you waste your time and resources.
6. Get creative: This is the fun part! Help your kids decide what the business name is going to be, about the logo, if they want to have business partners and would he or she want to have a slogan. These questions are important because they build your brand. A brand helps customers remember you and builds a trusting relationship.