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
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
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