Helping Kids Choose a Business Idea they can Start
(Part 2 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.
- 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/
- 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/
- 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).
- 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 a business idea they like 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 .