5 Things to Teach Kids Entrepreneurship – How to Create a Feasible Business Model (Part 3 of 5)

In part one of 5 things to successfully teach kids entrepreneurship, I outlined the five steps that we use with our More Than a Lemonade Stand™ Youth Entrepreneur Curriculum and in part two I described how to help kids choose a business idea (visit eseedling.com blog posts if you missed them).  This blog post covers how to create a feasible model with the use of the Business Model Canvas.

The Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool to teach kids the feasibility of a business model.

The Business Model Canvas, created by Alexander Osterwalder, is an excellent tool to help kids (and adults) develop their business model and discover the feasibility of their business idea. The Business Model Canvas is widely used by entrepreneurs as part of the lean startup methodology. The Strategyzer website has a free 2-minute video which explains the nine building blocks that the canvas is built on. You can view the video on their website at:  https://strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas.  The site also has free Business Model Canvas forms that you can download.

When we teach kids entrepreneurship, we teach them the business model canvas early on so they know if they want to continue to pursue that idea or need to change it somewhat or come up with another idea. We start with the 2-minute video from Strategyzer that we linked to in the above paragraph. We then hand out a blank Business Model Canvas (a visual representation of the business model) and discuss the 9 building blocks.

The nine building blocks include:

  • customer segments (your customers to whom you are adding value)
  • value proposition (the services and products that create value for your customers)
  • channels (describe how you deliver value; i.e., online, in-person)
  • customer relationships (what type of relationship will you establish with your customers; i.e., personalized vs. fast and inexpensive)
  • revenue streams (how money is coming in, the pricing of products and services)

“Building Blocks 5-7 are about the Infrastructure you need to have in place to make your business run successfully.”

  • key resources (the assets you need to run your business; buildings, vehicles, people, equipment)
  • key activities (the activities you need to perform well to create revenue)
  • key partners (the people and/or companies that can help you succeed)
  • cost structure (once you know what infrastructure you need, you have an idea of your costs and can decide if it is feasible to go forward with the business idea.

After we have reviewed the building blocks with the kids, we use a case study so that they can practice using the canvas.

We feel it is important to use current tools used in the industry when we teach kids entrepreneurship in our programs.

We use the Pizza Eater Business Saturday Night Live Sketch with Melissa McCarthy.  It’s a very humorous example of an entrepreneur who wants to start a Pizza Eating Business and goes to bank for a loan. (Here is a link to the video available for $2.99 on Amazon; episode is dated 4/16/13; https://www.amazon.com/Saturday-Night-Live-Season-38/dp/B009BJFBW8 ). It is also available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU8prtJUwHk but I encourage purchasing it.

Once the kids watch the video, we review the Business Model Canvas, as a group, using the Pizza Eating Business as a business example.  It’s very easy to fill in the building blocks until they get to revenue streams.

It should be an ‘aha’ moment that the business model is not feasible as there is no revenue stream.

After the case study, the kids will have a good idea of how to use the canvas and now will be able to put it together for their business.  They then work on filling it out for their own business idea. The information they still have questions about is a good indication of what they still need to do some research on for their business idea. Once they have completed the research and filled in the 9 building blocks they should have a good idea of whether or not their business model is feasible.

The next blog post in the 5 Things to Teach Kids Entrepreneurship Series will focus on teaching business fundamentals and will serve as a base for kids no matter what business idea they pursue now or in the future.

The content in this 5 part series is included in the More Than a Lemonade™ youth entrepreneurship curriculum. Julie Ann Wood has been working with young entrepreneurs for more than 10 years and is the author of the More Than a Lemonade Stand™ book and the creator of the Biz Ops Game™. To learn more about the curriculum and the youth entrepreneurship programs that e-seedling provides visit: www.eseedling.com .