I have been working young entrepreneurs for the past decade and have found the 7 steps below to be successful in working with kids.
1. Choose a business idea. Kids can’t start learning about how to start a business if they don’t have an idea. Have your young entrepreneur think about their hobbies, interests, what they’ve learned, what they have experience in, what they’re good at what they like to do in your spare time and then choose one or two ideas to move forward with.
2. Test your idea with potential customers. Entrepreneurs take risks but they can limit how much risk they take by testing their ideas. Have your young entrepreneur ask potential customers, and friends and family questions about their ideas. They can start with whether or not it is a good solution to the problem they are solving and would they pay money for it. Then be sure to narrow it down to one idea to work on.
3. Create a memorable brand and plan marketing & sales activities. A brand is what a prospect or customer thinks of or feels when they hear the business name or see their logo, marketing materials or store. Once they create their brand, your young entrepreneur needs to plan how to get the word out. This will be determined by budget and where customers are located.
4. List what is needed to start the business and figure out the costs. Start-Up Items are the items needed to start a business. Some examples of start-up items include office supplies and equipment, website, and tools to make the product or provide the service. Then your young entrepreneur will need to figure out a price for the product or service based on costs, competition and earlier testing of the idea to potential customers.
5. Keep Customers Happy. Once your young entrepreneur has customers, they need to make sure they keep them happy! The cost to get a new customer is much higher than selling to an existing customer. Happy customers will be the best resource for getting new customers. Have them make a plan for staying in contact with their customers and making sure they are happy. They can also ask satisfied customers for referrals.
6. Parent Approval and Legal Stuff. If you aren’t the parent reading this, make sure you, as a young entrepreneur, check with your parents to make sure that the business idea is okay to put into action. Also check to see 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 the business idea figured out, have your young entrepreneur create a plan that will guide them. A marketing plan for how they are going to get the word out and an operational plan for business activities. The two plans will work together to help them schedule their time and resources.
These 7 steps will give young entrepreneurs a great start for getting their business going.
If you would like a more detailed version of the 7 steps including including free downloadable worksheets; the e-book You’re Never Too Young to Start a Business is available on Amazon.com for $2.99. CLICK HERE to ORDER
If you would like more information on cultivating young entrepreneurs, visit eseedling.com
Julie Ann Wood is the author of More Than a Lemonade Stand and Creator of the Biz Ops Game™. She has been teaching young entrepreneurs since 2008 and created the More Than a Lemonade Stand curriculum for young entrepreneurs to help others teach youth entrepreneurship without reinventing the wheel!