Whether it’s a lemonade stand or a small yard cleaning business, getting your students to create their own company is a great way for them to learn basic commerce skills. David Bakke of MoneyCrashers.com: “Kids who have started a small business, whether it succeeded or failed, will have greater freedom in adult life. They won’t be limited by the mentality that after they’re educated, their only option is to find a traditional day job. They can also more easily start a small business on the side as an adult to earn more income, which also makes for more freedom.” Here’s how to get your young entrepreneurs interested in commerce.
What are your interests?
The first business principle that you must instill is to fulfill a need or solve a problem for your potential clients. It’s even better if your interests or hobbies can help you to earn money. For example, if your student loves baking, making cupcakes for children’s parties can be a great way to start. To ensure that your student has the right idea, get them to do a survey to see if people would pay for the goods and services they are offering.
Keep it sweet and simple
Children have boundless energy and imagination and their schemes may become quite lofty during the planning stages, so help them to stick to one idea. Teach them how to formulate a marketing plan, create a budget and set goals for their new business. Keep things small and simple so that it doesn’t become overwhelming and affect their academic life.
One you have a plan in place, show them how to market their product or service. This can be as simple as creating flyers to distribute around the neighborhood or as complex as setting up a website and sell online. You can also get them to make signs or design packaging depending on their creative skills.
Learn from failures
Many first businesses don’t work so ensure that your students are realistic about their expectations and help them to deal with any failures. Failures are a great learning opportunity so you can discuss what went wrong and how to improve on it.
Creating a budget, dealing with profits and losses and managing money is a great life lesson for all students to learn. Being able to effectively manage money will help them whether they start their own businesses in the future or to manage personal finances.
Most student entrepreneurs work only over the summer or when their academic workload allows. This means projects that run over a set period of time are best for the beginner entrepreneur. This gives them a great taste of the world of commerce and teaches them the skills they need to succeed. What business will your young entrepreneurs start this summer?Photo by Steven Depolo