How to Help Your Child Entrepreneur Launch a Business
Certain things are best enjoyed by adults; for example, alcohol, some movies, retirement. However, unlike what many people believe, entrepreneurship is not one of those things. In fact, it’s an activity that people of all ages can succeed at and love. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs actually started running businesses when they were kids. Daniel Ek, the CEO and co-founder of Spotify, for example, launched his first business designing websites at the age of 13. By the age of 18, he had 25 employees and was earning $50,000 a month.
Like with many adult entrepreneurs, children also need help when starting their own business. So, how do you help your child entrepreneur launch a business? Take a look at these tips:
- Help them choose an idea
- Write a business plan together
- Teach them money management
- Work on their communication skills
- Discuss the potential of failure with them
- Research legal and tax requirements
- Be supportive
Help Them Choose an Idea
Some kids have an entrepreneurial spirit but are prone to cases of too-many-ideas. If your child approaches you and says they want to open a business but are having a hard time conceptualizing exactly what that business will be, you can help guide them towards a clear idea they will be passionate about. Take the time to sit your budding child entrepreneur down and make a list of their passions and interests. Young artists can sell homemade greeting cards to the neighbours. Pet lovers might consider a dog-walking business. By approaching entrepreneurship from a point of passion, you help ensure that your child earns enjoyment from their endeavour and also remains interested for longer.
A few popular ideas for kids’ businesses include:
- Lemonade stands
- Selling old toys
- Selling crafts
- Dog-walking and pet care
- Task-based jobs (lawn mowing, snow shovelling, etc.)
Write a Business Plan with Your Child Entrepreneur
Kids make great entrepreneurs. However, kids simply don’t have the same depth of experience that seasoned entrepreneurs gather over years. Because of this, they may need some help nailing down the nuts and bolts of their business. Even if you’ve never run your own business before, you can help your child research things like organization structure, start up costs, and competition. In addition, help your child create SMART goals for their business. SMART stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. You can learn how to write them here.
Teach Them Money Management
Many kids earn money as an allowance, or from birthday and Christmas gifts. Some are great at managing the money they have, while others aren’t so great at it. In addition, some kids never save money of their own. Whatever the case may be, help your child entrepreneur succeed in their business venture by teaching them money management. Explain taxes, revenue, costs, and any other relevant financial topics. If your child is very young and money-topics too complex for them, a business (such as a lemonade stand) is still a great way for them to practice their mathematical skills.
Work on Their Communication Skills
Financial skills aren’t the only thing your child can learn or improve while launching a business. Becoming an entrepreneur is a great way to hone communication skills, through marketing and customer service. You can help your child with this skill by helping them plan and design flyers or even set up a social media page for their business if they’re old enough. In addition, pretending to be a customer in a few different situations can help develop communication, problem solving, and dispute resolution skills.
Discuss the Potential of Failure with Them
Statistically speaking, more businesses fail than succeed. Children’s businesses are not immune from this statistic. This outcome is disappointing to all entrepreneurs but might affect kids harder. To avoid esteem issues, loss of passion, or even outright tantrums, have a conversation with your child about failure at the very start of their business. Help them write up a plan for what to do if their business doesn’t take off (for example, how can they make up any startup costs), and explain to them that lack of success in one idea doesn’t mean it will happen with every idea. Being forewarned and prepared can help soften any negative blows down the line, while also equipping kids to handle tough situations with maturity.
Research Legal and Tax Requirements
Generally speaking, your child’s lemonade stand can be set up in the front yard without needing to consult a team of lawyers and accountants. However, some businesses require compliance with tax and commerce laws, even if they’re run by a child. For example, if your child sells through a platform like eBay or Etsy, each site has different rules for merchants that must be obeyed. In other cases, some businesses require licenses to operate, such as CPR certificates for babysitters. Helping your child research and understand all applicable laws will equip them for greater success in the future.
This tip is probably common sense. However, some parents are quick to tell their child they’re too young to run a business, or their idea is a bad one. Whether or not they’re right, it’s important to encourage the child entrepreneur to launch their business and experience these things firsthand, as a learning experience. Besides, kids have a way of proving adults wrong with their creativity, adaptability, and perseverance.
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