It might seem strange on the surface, but there is little more beneficial to your children than learning how to run a business. It requires them to learn the value of hard work, as keeping a company going is tough.
Simply the level of commitment required to get a business off the ground is invaluable lesson in hard work.
There are also a range of other skills that can be learnt, such as managing money, time and resources. On top of this, they can learn the basics of business management, such as marketing, pricing, profit and customer service.
The most valuable lesson, though, is independence. Having the option to create and run a business off their own backs and make money can lend someone a sense of self-worth.
They can begin planning for the longer term and gain valuable entrepreneurial experience. This could lay the groundwork for future business success, making the project a low risk, high reward extra-curricular activity.
It’s business time
Your child is enthused and ready to start a business, so the next step is helping them decide what their company should do. It could be as simple as selling cakes or sweets, walking dogs or gardening.
There are a huge number of other potential options. They could teach people about using computers, set up an online business or even design websites.
All of this depends on age and ability, but there is an option for everyone. What needs to be kept in mind though is that your child is not you. The option they take might not be something you would choose yourself.
To truly find the project that is right for them, explore the child’s interests and skills, working together to come up with a business idea that compliments their personality.
Keeping an eye out
Whatever the youngster’s business ends up being, it will almost definitely have start-up costs. Unfortunately, as the parent of an entrepreneur, it is likely that you’ll be forking out most of this cash.
One thing that must be avoided though is writing a blank cheque. This will not benefit anyone in the long run.
Instead, you should run a Dragon’s Den situation and get your child to pitch to you. This is a terrific opportunity for kids to really comprehend what it takes to create and run a company. They will learn how to consider costs, identify their market and much, much more.
The pitch does not need to be a hundred page document alongside an interactive presentation, it should just lay out the fundamentals of their business strategy. This ensures that the basics of entrepreneurship are learnt and understood early.
Let them work
This might seem simple, but it is a huge must: the youngsters must do the work. There is nothing wrong with offering advice and lending a guiding hand, but the real value of starting a business comes from doing the work on their own.
Challenges must be faced and overcome from their own actions, something that will benefit them for years to come.
It is a shame that for many, encouraging your child to start a business is not seen as valuable or attractive as other activities. This simply misses the huge range of benefits that can come from encouraging children to take on such a challenge.
It allows huge amounts of independence, helps them understand the value of hard work and makes them feel valuable. Next time your child says they’re bored, just remember they could be starting their very own business… and then they might be giving you pocket money!
Jason Richelson is CEO of iPad payments service ShopKeep
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