Business idea

Five things to successfully teach kids entrepreneurship (Part 2 of 6)

Business idea

I have a business idea

Helping Kids Choose a Business Idea they can Start
(Part 2 of 6 of the 5 things to successfully teach kids entrepreneurship series)

One thing that we discuss in the More Than a Lemonade Stand™ youth entrepreneur program, before having kids choose a business idea, is what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs not only create businesses, but they have a unique mindset that is just as important.  If kids start thinking like an entrepreneur, they not only can apply it to their own business idea but also to their life in general.

Here are 4 things that are important to discuss when it comes to the entrepreneurial mindset.

  1. Entrepreneurs are resilient and persistent (most entrepreneurs don’t succeed with their first business idea). This article on 10 famous entrepreneurs who failed is a great discussion starting point: https://small-bizsense.com/10-famous-entrepreneurs-who-failed-in-business-before-becoming-successful/
  2. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers (the most successful entrepreneurs solve a problem). This is a great article about entrepreneurs and solving problems. https://www.business.com/articles/are-entrepreneurs-nothing-more-than-problem-solvers/
  3. Entrepreneurs are not only knowledgeable in their specific area but also have business knowledge (at minimum, they need to understand their business model and financial information along with communication of their business idea and how to sell it).
  4. Entrepreneurs are team builders (they know their strengths and weaknesses and build a team to help strengthen their weaknesses).

Now let’s focus on helping kids choose a business idea they can start. Here are 4 steps to help kids choose a business idea that they can start.

  • Explore their interests. What do they like to do in their spare time?  Usually what kids do in their free time is a clue for what they have a passion for. Starting and running a business is not easy so it’s best they choose something they like to do since they are more apt to stick with it.
  • Look at what things they have experience with. If they are naturally good at something and have built up some expertise, they’ll find it easier to create a business around it. This could be anything from making jewelry, mowing lawns, painting, taking pictures or videos, a school subject, music or sports.
  • Explore how they can turn their interest and or knowledge into a solution (remember, entrepreneurs are problem-solvers). For example, if they are good in a school subject, they could help tutor kids. They could teach a sport, create a product to solve a problem, or help take care of kids so parents can get things done.
  • Once they have a business idea, they need to think about how are they going to make money from it. Have them ask potential customers if they are already have a current solution to the problem and if so, what it is and what do they like and dislike about it. If they don’t have a solution ask the potential customers if they would pay for a solution. That will help the entrepreneur come up with some ideas of how they can sell against their competition and if their idea is feasible.

Part 3 in the series will focus on creating a feasible business model and how creating a Business Model Canvas for their idea can help them do that.

Julie Ann Wood has been an entrepreneur since she was a kid and shares her passion by working with young entrepreneurs to create their own businesses along with organizations and schools to implement youth entrepreneur programs.  In addition to running her own company, E-seedling, LLC, she is the Youth Entrepreneur Camp director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Small Business Development Center and is the author of the More Than a Lemonade Stand™, the You’re Never Too Young to Start a Business e-book the creator of the Biz Ops Game™. To learn more about the curriculum, games and youth entrepreneur programs and seminars visit: www.eseedling.com .

What is the Biz Ops Game?

I often get asked what exactly is the Biz Ops Game?  Here is a short video to explain what it is, how it works and what it teaches.

 

 

Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

7 Steps to Start a Kid Business

  1. Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

    7 Steps to Start a kid biz

    Choose a business idea. You can’t start learning about how to start a business if you don’t have an idea. Think about hobbies, interests, what you’ve learned, what you have experience in, what you’re good at what you like to do in your spare time.

  2. Test your idea with potential customers. Entrepreneurs take risks but you can limit how much risk you take by testing your ideas. Ask customers, prospects, friends and family questions about your idea. You can start with whether or not it is a good solution to the problem you are solving and would they pay money for it.
  3. Create a memorable brand and plan your marketing & sales activities. A brand is what your prospect or customer thinks of or feels when they hear your name, see your logo, marketing materials or store. Once you create your brand you need to plan how to get the word out. This will be determined by where your customers are located.
  4. List what you need to start your business and how much money you need to get started. Start-Up Items are the items you need to have before you can start your business. Some examples of start-up items include office supplies and equipment, website, and tools to make your product or provide your service. You may also need to buy some inventory or supplies to make your products. You probably won’t have fixed costs such as rent but it’s good to be aware that these costs exist also. You will then need to figure out a price for your product or service based on costs, competition and your earlier testing.
  5. Keep your Customers Happy. Once you have customers, you need to make sure you keep them happy! The cost to get a new customer is much higher than selling to an existing customer. Happy customers will be your best resource for getting new customers (what is called Word of Mouth Marketing). You will want to make sure you have a plan for staying in contact with your customers and making sure they are happy.
  6. Parent Approval and Legal Stuff. Before going any further, you should always check with your parents to make sure that your business idea is okay to put into action and also check on if any legal permits are needed. Each state, city & town has their own rules so it is always a good idea to check and see what is required. There may be free or reduced legal resources at your local business center or university or college so you might want to check on that.
  7. Create a Plan. Now that you have your business idea figured out, you need to have a plan that will guide you. You need a marketing plan for how you are going to get the word out and an operational plan for business activities. The two plans will work together to help you schedule your time and resources. All of the hard work you have done already will go into a plan – this chapter will help you put it all together so you are ready to go!

These 7 steps will give you a good start for getting a business going. If you would like a complete Step-by-Step guide including free downloadable worksheets. My new e-book You’re Never too Young to Start A Business is available for only $2.99 on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE to ORDER If you would like more information on cultivating young entrepreneurs, visit eseedling.com and sign up for our e-newsletter.

 

Kid Planning a Trip

5 Everyday Opportunities to Teach Entrepreneurship to your Kids

Kid Planning a Trip

Daughter planning a trip

I am an avid reader of ideas for teaching entrepreneurship not only for improving my own teaching of entrepreneurship but also so I can help parents and teachers implement entrepreneurship education in easy and effective ways. Sometimes we forget about the everyday opportunities we have for developing our kids into young entrepreneurs so here are 5 everyday activities that you can use to teach entrepreneurship to your kids.

  1. Getting up in the morning – do you go in their room and wake them up for school? Empower them by picking out an alarm clock and putting the responsibility on them. If they prove that they can be responsible (and keeping their grades up), you might make them a deal that they could use their cell phone as an alarm. After all, will you be there when they get up and get going for college or a job? Be sure to discuss what the consequences are if they don’t get up on time and get going to school. This one thing can teach responsibility and initiative.
  2. Budget for needs and wants – as young as age 9 they should have the skills to develop a budget for some of their expenses. Kids can understand needs and wants by then (even much younger than that) and so they could have a budget for needs and a budget for wants. This is a great way to have kids start learning how much it costs for necessities and learn what you as a parent are doing to provide these necessities for them. Then have them budget for their wants and come up with ideas to earn money for those wants.
  3. Questions or complaints; brainstorm solutions. If your kids are like mine – they ask multiple questions (and complain) every day. How many times have you heard, “I’m bored”, “How come she gets to do that” or “What’s for supper”? Since entrepreneurship is about solving problems, have them list the questions and brainstorm some ideas on how it can be solved. Then have them pitch an idea to you about the solution. This empowers them to come up with a solution and work as a team to put it together. It will also help their team work, negotiation and consensus building skills.
  4. Plan a Trip. Planning a trip is like running a project and entrepreneurs have to plan and manage many projects. Have a discussion of where you might want to go for a family trip (could start small with a weekend getaway). Then have them research hotels (including prices) and activities they want to include. If it’s a bigger trip, they can include airfare and a rental car. They can also come up with an itinerary for the trip. This will give an idea of how much a trip really costs and it will also give them the chance to learn how to research, document and communicate their findings.
  5. Promote their passions. No matter what it is, find out what they like the most and help them develop those skills. Maybe it’s going to cooking class together, or going to sports activity, it will make them feel special and help deepen their passion (and your relationship). If they are truly passionate about something, encourage them to turn it into a business. They can start small, maybe at craft fairs or by teaching kids at school. This way they can see how it goes and make sure they like it. It will give them a taste of entrepreneurship and maybe they will be able to earn money for some of those “Wants”!

For more information, free tips and product discounts on teaching entrepreneurship; subscribe to this blog or opt-in to our e-newsletter on eseedling.com.

What is an Entrepreneur

What is an Entrepreneur?

What is an Entrepreneur

What is an Entrepreneur?

My theory is that you can’t really teach kids how to be an entrepreneur if they don’t know what it is. The hard part is defining what an entrepreneur is! If you Google “What is an Entrepreneur”, you will get 149 million results in a matter of seconds.

The first one listed is the dictionary definition:

en·tre·pre·neur

noun: entrepreneur; plural noun: entrepreneurs

  1. a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

 

Here are a few more of the definitions that came up as some of the first search results:

Entrepreneurs know you need to be both a leader and a manager… in that order. They always start with a leader, and then find a manager. “What is an Entrepreneur?” by Ken Krogue, Forbes July 3, 2013

 

An article from Inc.com entitled “What is an entrepreneur anyway?” by Justin Bariso (Nov 28,2014) includes several definitions of an entrepreneur including his personal favorite (which happens to be my favorite of the article also): Rory MccGwire (founder of The Marketing Donut): “An entrepreneur is someone who, rather than working 8 hours a day for someone else, would prefer to work 18 hours a day for [him or herself]. (And one can then embellish it with half-the-pay, twice the stress, but ten times the fun, etc.)” The article also discusses whether or not if all business owners are actually entrepreneurs which I tend to think they are.”

One of my favorites is from Entrepreneur.com: Who is an Entrepreneur by Juan Jose de la Torre on April 29,2015; He includes many traits but ends up with I think is the real key:Passion is the real drive:There is another element that really dwells at the center of any entrepreneur: passion! An entrepreneur possesses an interior fuel and stamina that drives his or her actions; this superior energy helps to overtake and surpass the different challenges and it injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise. Anyone can be an entrepreneur and behave like one- regardless of whether or not they happen to be an equity holder. Ultimately, it’s all about the attitude when running the show.”

This is a great start but since there are 149 million results it tells us that it is not quite that easy to define! That is why “What is an Entrepreneur” is what I start with when I’m teaching young entrepreneurs – how can you teach them to be one if they don’t know what an entrepreneur is.

To introduce what an entrepreneur is and does, I use a short video from Grasshopper (a virtual phone company) entitled Entrepreneurs Can Change the World:  http://grasshopper.com/idea/  The video includes many points about being an entrepreneur and provides a great base for a discussion of what an entrepreneur is and does. Some of the points in the video include:

Entrepreneurs can be anyone

Anyone can change the world

One person can make a difference

They may start with little or nothing except a brilliant idea

Entrepreneurs Work hard

They see opportunities

They think about how life can better and make it better

Entrepreneurs change the way we see the world

They are innovators, thinkers, doers

Entrepreneurs take risks

They create jobs and fuel growth

Entrepreneurs find new ways to solve problems

In addition to the points in the video, I emphasize that passion and purpose are extremely important (to keep you going when times are tough) and then we go into a discussion of choosing an idea that they can use their own unique talents and skills (I’ll save that for another blog post).

Being an entrepreneur is not just about learning the business skills to run a business (anyone can learn those skills); it is about what an entrepreneur mindset is. They must be able to see opportunities and have the ability to come up with creative solutions. They also need resilience and so when they fail, they can keep on going. In a future post, I will talk about the new Entrepreneurial Strength Finder by Gallup – based on research they state that there are 10 Entrepreneurial Strengths necessary to become a highly successful large scale entrepreneur. I believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur (or I wouldn’t be teaching kids) and that if kids can learn about the possibilities before they even reach high school they will be much more open to learning what is an entrepreneur, developing those entrepreneurial strengths and creating an entrepreneurial mindset so that they can become successful entrepreneurs.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for my blog updates and share with others. For more resources and tools on teaching youth entrepreneurship and to sign up for my e-newsletter and special promotions visit www.eseedling.com.

Police close lemonade stand

Is Your Lemonade Stand Illegal?

Police close lemonade stand

Police officer closing down the lemonade stand

This week it was Jerry Seinfeld’s kids lemonade stand getting closed down by police due to neighbors complaining about parking and not having a permit. I have been hearing about a stand getting closed down almost every week some place in the U.S. this summer – what do you think this does to kids who are testing the waters for entrepreneurship? Most of the time, the kids who start the lemonade stand are raising money for a good cause or they may be saving up for a larger purpose (not to mention all the learning they are doing). What better way than to start a lemonade stand?

So what is up with the neighbors who are complaining and basically getting the kids ticketed, fined and closing their businesses? I’m wondering is the lemonade stand on a hot summer day really causing them a problem? Do they not have enough to keep their selves busy? Another reason for shutting down the stands is that they are competing with a local business – I’m wondering how much business a young entrepreneur lemonade stand takes away from an established business. I have learned that is more important to focus on your own business and do the best you can then to worry about the business next door! And what about our police force – don’t they have more important things to do then to visit a kid’s lemonade stand to close it down? I’m frankly quite disappointed that we are even spending resources on this! I’ve even read

Okay, so there may be arguments that the kids should get a business license. But really can’t we make kids first taste at business more positive? How about if municipalities create a Lemonade Law and allow kids up to 5 different days to run lemonade stands during the year. If the kids want to sell more days, then the formal process of applying for the permit would need to take place. A website page could be added for kids to register the dates of lemonade stands and print out a permit that they can display at their stand so when their neighbor wants to report them they can easily see that the young entrepreneur has taken care of the permit. One simple webpage set up can eliminate the phone call to the police, the police having to investigate and break the young entrepreneur’s heart!

If you know of any municipalities have come up with a good system to remedy this issue, please share maybe others can learn from what has already worked! We definitely need to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to try out their business ideas – if we don’t change the way we treat them we may have less and less young entrepreneurs which will translate in less small businesses in the future (more on that in my next blog post)!

If you would like free tips and resources to cultivate youth entrepreneurs (or to run lemonade stands) – sign up for our free e-newsletter at eseedling.com or purchase More Than a Lemonade Stand at eseedling.com or your favorite online book store.

Business idea

I have a business idea – 5 steps young entrepreneurs can start with!

Business idea

I have a business idea

In the last 2 blog posts I included ideas for how young entrepreneurs might come up with a business idea, an overview of the steps to get started and 10 ideas that work. Now that the business idea is starting to be developed, here is some more detail on what to do next.
Here are 5 steps to get going in the right direction:
1) Calculate how much the unit (or direct) costs are. What is needed to create the product or service? For example, if you are making jewelry, you will need to know how much wire, beads, and other supplies are needed to create one unit (bracelet, ring, earring, etc.) and then figure out the total cost. There may also be costs for equipment or supplies that is necessary to make the product or provide the service so that also needs to be taken into account (these are indirect costs). The same is true for a service, how much do you want to get paid for the service and are any supplies needed to provide the service.
2) Pricing the product or service – after the costs are calculated, figure out how much you want to make per product or unit of service. This can do this by using an accounting equation (a simple math problem); Income-Expenses = Profit. You have already calculated the costs and the profit is how much you want to make (such as $2.00 per bracelet). You can then back into the income which is the sales price for the item or service. Also make sure to account for indirect costs.
3) Get the word out. You need to figure out how you are going to get the word out to potential customers. Once you know who your customers are (neighbors, friends, family, school mates, etc.), you can figure out how to communicate what they are selling to them (this is marketing). This may be by making posters, business cards, flyers, or posting on social media. The key is to find out where your customers are and what the most cost effective way of communicating your message to them is.
4) Follow the rules. Make sure to check with your city, town or school about any rules they have for selling items. You want to make sure they obey the laws and rules so they don’t end up with fines or other issues.
5) Keep good records, make sure you keep track of what you are selling how much you are making and keep it separate from your personal money such as allowance or other non-business funds. This is a good habit to get in right away as it is very important if your business grows to keep business and personal funds separate. If your business takes off – you may need to consult with an accountant or attorney about any taxes you might need to pay.
These 5 steps will get them going in the right direction with a new business. Watch for future posts as they will focus in more detail about the different concepts of running a business as a young entrepreneur.
If you would like additional information on youth entrepreneurship or teaching youth entrepreneurs sign up for my e-newsletter and free tips at http://eseedling.com/

Start an Awesome Business

10 Awesome Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs

Start an Awesome Business

Start an Awesome Business now

In my last blog post I talked about how kids can use their talents and passion to guide them into a business idea. But how do you know if that idea will work?  Here are 9 business ideas that have a high chance of success for young entrepreneurs (and some helpful hints for each one):

  1. Make jewelry – if you love jewelry – and like making things with your hands – try making jewelry. Start by making bracelets for your friends and family (both girls and boys wear bracelets if they are with larger beads). Then remember to keep track of all of the supply costs and your time so that you price them fairly and for you to make some money.
  2. Babysit – Okay so there are a lot of kids who do this. But think of what you can add to your service that makes you different and better than others. Could you include doing crafts with them or helping with their school work or a sport or dance. Then propose that to the parents and see if they might pay a little more for that service.
  3. Tutor- if you are one of those kids who is really good in a specific subject, then think about how you can help others increase their knowledge in that subject. You could print some worksheets (or better yet create some) and help kids complete the work. Remember to make sure it is not too hard for the student but is just hard enough to challenge them. Also, make sure you communicate how much you are charging and what is included.
  4. Mow lawns – if you have experience mowing lawns, this may be a good option as a business. You can either provide the lawn mower and gas (in which you want to charge a higher price) or use theirs. This is a good service to provide within your neighborhood. Neighbors may also need other services such as trimming, weeding, changing light bulbs, raking, etc. So ask them what they need and charge them for your services.
  5. Make video game tutorials – if you love playing video games and you are good at it- why not make video tutorials. You can post them on YouTube and if your views get high enough then you may earn revenue with sponsorships. If you want to post them on your website you can charge a subscription fee to your members (the startup costs may be a bit higher).
  6. Make fashion and make-up videos. If you are into fashion and/or make-up then you can film videos and post them on YouTube. You may find sponsors to pay you for each view or you can create a membership site that your fans subscribe to for your tips.
  7. Create an E-Zine. If you have some great content to share with the world, create a subscription based online magazine with unique content. Something that you can give hints and tips for, videos on a subject, interviews with experts or cooking foods would be great topics to get subscribers.
  8. Teach sports, dance or music. If you have an expertise that you can teach, this is a great way to share it and help others. Remember to keep track of all expenses and your time so you can charge enough to make it worthwhile.
  9. Make something. If you have a product you can make such as t-shirts, candles, fishing lures, etc. You can sell them to your friends and family and then have customers post their use of them on social media to help get the word out and expand your business.
  10. Care for Pets. If you love animals then help out your neighbors by taking care of their pets while they are on vacation or busy at work. You can walk their dog, play with their cat, or feed their fish. You will love what you do and your neighbors will love that they don’t have to rush home to take care of their pets!

Remember you have a few weeks of summer left so it is a great time to get your business idea going! Always remember to ask your parents before starting up a business endeavor! Visit eseedling.com for more resources and information on youth entrepreneurship.

Parents helping kids start a business

Avoid Summer Brain Drain – Help your kids start a business!

Parents helping kids start a business

Parents helping kids start a business

There is still a month left of summer vacation and the kids are getting bored! Why not have them start a business? Starting a small business is a good way to keep the brain drain away and keep the kids busy, learn responsibility, earn money and build their resume!

Here are 6 things to help your kids get started as entrepreneurs.

  1. Have them write down what they are good at, what they like to do in their spare time and what they have knowledge in. This helps them realize their talents and passions. It is much more fun to start a business doing something you love!
  2. Once the kids have narrowed down their idea, have them think about what problems they can solve with those skills and talents (maybe it’s teaching a musical instrument, academic subject, dance or a sport or maybe it’s doing outside work such as lawn mowing, leaf raking or snow shoveling).
  3. Once they have an idea – they need to put together a list of what is needed to start and the costs (they may need to research costs online or go to the store). Once the list is ready – have them make a proposal to you and discuss the idea. If you approve they may also need to check with a municipality to see if there are any special permits necessary.
  4. Have the kids come up with a price for their product or service. They should check out if they have any competition, what they are charging and what their strengths and weaknesses are so they know how to sell against them. They will also want to think about how much they want to make in order to figure out what they charge the customer.
  5. Have the kids come up with a schedule to work on the business and be reliable for their customers. If kids do this their business will grow with word of mouth.
  6. Help them find a mentor – if you have business knowledge you may be able to help, if not see if there is another adult who may be able to help them with business questions as they come up.

These starting steps will help kids get started learning about running a business and give them a taste of entrepreneurship! Want more information on youth entrepreneurship – visit www.eseedling.com.

youth entrepreneur world

Youth Entrepreneurs are Changing the World – get in on the change!

youth entrepreneur world

youth entrepreneurs are changing the world

Youth Entrepreneurs are Changing the World!

Every day I read about amazing young entrepreneurs who are making our world a better place. It is both encouraging and inspiring learning about what the next generation of entrepreneurs is accomplishing! But, if you think kids can go out on the street corner start a lemonade stand and then tomorrow run a successful business, then you need to think again. The seed may be planted but the young entrepreneurs need to be cultivated so that they can realize their strengths & talents, leading to increased self-confidence and allowing them to thrive and grow. The Small Business Administration states that only 50% of businesses survive 5 years and that only 33% survive 10.

Here are 6 things you can do to help kids succeed as entrepreneurs.

1. Help kids realize they have unique talents and skills.

Everyone has the potential to do something great. Finding the things we are great at sometimes takes a lifetime. Exploring with the kids what their talents are, what they are good at and helping them realize that they can use these talents and skills to make a difference will build their self-confidence and is one of the keys to creating an entrepreneurial mindset.

2. Look for problems that need to be solved and work on solving them.

Turning problems into opportunities is what entrepreneurs do. The more you have the kids come up with problems that they can turn into an opportunity, the more they will think about this when they look at the world on a daily basis. If they learn this early, who knows what problems they will solve?

3. Bring in entrepreneurs to share their stories and experiences.

Everyone has a story; including entrepreneurs and they love to share them and help others. Ask some local entrepreneurs if they would like to speak to the kids on how they got started (many had businesses when they were kids) and what they have learned as an entrepreneur. Or better yet, visit your local entrepreneur (try to visit at a non-busy time) and ask them about their business and how they got started.

4. Have kids present an idea they are passionate about.

Communication and presentation skills are vital to the success of an entrepreneur. Without good communication and presentation skills entrepreneurs wouldn’t be able to sell to their customers, communicate with their employees and vendors or effectively present to get funding for their business. Have kids start presenting about something they are passionate about – it will make it easier for them and break the ice.

5. Show them that failure is a tool for learning.

Kids today get an award or trophy for almost everything they participate in. This has set today’s kids up for a hard fall. In real life – we don’t always win – it is important to teach kids that failure is okay and that we should learn from our failures. Games are one way that is a safe way to teach that they can learn from failure. Find a game that teaches business concepts and use it as a learning experience.

6. Teach business basics.

Entrepreneurs start a business because they have a passion, skill or talent but they may have no clue of how to run a business. It is important that the passionate entrepreneur knows business basics and/or have a partner who can run the operations of the business. If they don’t have business sense, the business is likely to fail.

To find out more about tools and books to help you get in on the change visit: www.eseedling.com