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Teaching Your Kids
How to Run Their Own Business
Everyone is aware of the classic entrepreneurial genesis of starting a lemonade stand as a child. While the experience can be valuable, though, many genuinely business-savvy children have the desire and ability to go much further.
If you have a child who shows flashes of entrepreneurial brilliance, you should take the time to help them hone that raw ability by teaching them how to run their own business.
The Lessons of Business
It’s easy to simply state that “starting your own business teaches you a lot.” But what does that actually mean? Is launching a startup really worth potentially postponed higher education, a hefty financial investment, and countless missed career opportunities?
The short answer is that, yes, the trade-off is very often worth it. However, it’s important to have a proper perspective of just what you — or your child in this case — are getting out of the deal.
This is important, as the romantic idyll of running your own business is often associated with unrealistically inflated images of easy-going success and an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Those who have actually started businesses will quickly push back against these dangerous tropes, though. Being an entrepreneur is much deeper than chasing an interest or finding a way to work less and have more money.
Being a business owner is about forging your own identity and establishing a repertoire of skills, talents, and experiences that can help you succeed throughout the rest of your life. Some of these include the following:
Countless responsibilities come with running a business. Supply chain management, sales and marketing, customer service, and administrative duties all factor into the daily life of an entrepreneur.
Allowing your kids to learn how to address this diverse set of responsibilities is incredibly valuable. Not only does it make the tasks themselves less intimidating, but it also teaches your child to use schedules, task trackers, and other resources as they strive to keep tabs on everything that requires their attention.
The ability to understand income and expenses, consider taxes, and — depending on the scope of their business — even tackle things like insurance, payroll, and warehousing cannot be overstated.
Managing the finances of a business teaches an important job skill and presents a tremendous opportunity for professional growth. Much like organization, it also allows your child to reduce the intimidation factor that so many non-entrepreneurs associate with business finances.
A child is already in a state of learning how to communicate with their peers and family. However, when you encourage them to also learn how to interact with others on a professional level, it can dramatically increase their ability to connect with others and exchange information effectively.
This includes everything from interacting with customers to maintaining good relationships with suppliers and even little lessons like exercising good smartphone etiquette with employees and professional peers.
Endurance and Resilience
Starting a business is exhausting, challenging, and risky. By teaching your child run their own business, you can help them learn to problem solve and develop a deep sense of endurance as they tackle each issue that arises.
They will also naturally become more resilient as they grow accustomed to seeing failure as a temporary setback rather than an ending point.
Exposing a child to business early on will allow them to see how quickly things change throughout their 21st-century professional career. It also exposes them to one of the most successful learning theories in education: experiential learning. This is learning by doing on a grand scale, especially if your child sees the ups and downs that come with running a business.
It takes continual learning — about markets, competitors, products, and more — to make a business successful. Learning these lessons at a young age enables them to both get comfortable with constantly learning new things and with a world of ever-evolving business.
Why Teaching a Child to Run Their Own Business Is So Important
While the value of starting a business is easy to see, the benefits of teaching your kids to run a business are even more profound.
In many ways, the effects of fostering a child entrepreneur are akin to learning a second language at a younger age. It’s much easier to learn a language as a child than it is as an adult. Ingrained habits of speaking and mental communicative pathways haven’t yet been firmly established, allowing a child to adapt to a new language with ease.
In the same sense, teaching a child about the rigors of entrepreneurship at a young age will allow them to adapt to the challenges, create valuable “muscle memory” lessons, and generally develop professional skills that they can cash in on for their entire adult career.
This is true even if they don’t continue to be entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial attributes like organization, endurance, and problem-solving can have just as big of an impact on a traditional professional career, as well.
Tips for Launching Your Child-Entrepreneur
If you’re planning on helping your child get a business off the ground, here are a few things to keep in mind as you do so:
Help them create a business plan: Make sure to help your child create a business plan first to set expectations and provide a clear blueprint for what they must do to succeed.
Don’t do everything for them: It’s tempting to take over burdensome tasks like legal forms and financial activities, especially if it expedites things, but you must let your child learn to handle those responsibilities on their own.
Encourage independence and let them fail: Obviously help to guide your child towards the right answers, but also allow them to act independently and learn from failure as well.
Establish clear business hours: This is especially important if you and your child are working from home during the pandemic, as it helps them learn to both stay focused and unplug depending on where they are.
If you can help to launch and guide your child’s business without overly controlling the process, you’ll be providing an invaluable life-long lesson in the process.
Helping your kid start and run their own business is one of the most valuable things you can offer your child. It allows them to experience hardship, overcome challenges, and learn to balance responsibilities before they enter adulthood.
This honing of their professional skills and mindset will continue to serve them far into the future as they launch their own careers with confidence born from the fires of entrepreneurial experience.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.