Published with Permission
Written by Rene Williams
Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task, but it is possible to begin teaching children at the skills required to be adult entrepreneurs. The earlier children start learning these skills, the more conditioned their mindset is and the easier it will be to become an entrepreneur. Most children are taught to work hard and they will achieve their goals, but many are not taught how to come up with enterprising ideas that can become a business. Starting children off as little business owners and coaching them to become entrepreneurs, not only creates an understanding of how to run a small business, but encourages confidence. Becoming an entrepreneur is a learned behavior, not an inherited trait, so here are 5 strategies that are beneficial in teaching your children how to become a budding entrepreneur.
It is important for children to learn how to set and accomplish goals. To teach children goal setting, ask them to write 5 goals and define them. Choose one of these goals, the one with the largest impact on their life and make this goal their main focus. Write down all the individual steps that are necessary to accomplish the goal. Encourage the child to immediately begin taking action to complete the goal.
One of the most important aspects of becoming an entrepreneur is ideas. The goal of an aspiring entrepreneur is to take an idea and turn it into a useable solution. Teaching children to seek an opportunity and take action, directly teaches them to contribute to their problem solving skills, which in turn builds the level of future successes. Allow children to “invent” a solution for everyday problems at home, school, the grocery store and anywhere else where they see a problem. For example, how can they prevent their sandwich from getting soggy at lunchtime or how can grocery items be easily organized? Present a problem and request a solution.
Small Business Tours
Arrange to take your children on a tour of the small business in your community to help them have a better idea of the different types of existing businesses. Before each visit, have the child create a list of questions to ask the business owner, such as how they become interested in what they do, what type of services are offered and if there are any problems with certain aspects of their business. Allow the child to interview the business owners and once they are home, encourage the child to come up with a solution to any problems that were reported.
Entrepreneurs are leaders, but it is a skill they often learned early on. Schools, from elementary to college, teach children to follow the rules, memorize facts and follow what others do. It is vital to teach your future entrepreneur to become an independent thinker. Not that they should be taught to break rules, but they should learn to be creative and think outside of the box. Encourage your children to “lead” their friends in an activity, such as starting a neighborhood book club or planning and operating a bake sale, lemonade sale or other small business project.
Marketing, Selling and Finances
Encourage your child to come up with a way to earn money. This can be something as simple as mowing neighborhood lawns, selling old toys or making handmade items to sell. Allow the child to price the products themselves, design and distribute flyers for their business project and educate them about the money aspect of the business. For example, if your child wants to mow lawns, teach him to make a list of all costs to operate the business, which may include renting the mower from you, buying the gasoline and the cost of all marketing items. Actually take the payment for any initial items you bought for his business and encourage him to pay his self a set amount and put the rest in the bank to put back into the business. The money put away for the business could be used to hire a friend to help, so more work could get done or to buy more equipment, such as a weed eater, which will increase the services his business offers.
The most crucial lesson you can teach your children about becoming an entrepreneur is that failure is not bad. Children are taught throughout their school years that they should not fail, but every failure brings a learning experience and a greater benefit. Failure allows children to learn how to create solutions for their mistakes and it encourages the confidence necessary to persevere. Do not punish your child when they fail, instead talk about what they can do to prevent repeating the mistake. Always find the good in what they do, even if it is wrong it can be turned into a valuable lesson and always encourage your child to never, ever give up.
Rene Williams is a regular contributor to DegreeJungle, a college resource site for prospective students, and she is an avid advocate for the promotion of encouraging children to follow their goals. She suggests you visit DegreeJungle where you can learn more about the best online colleges for future entrepreneurs.