The skills developed by teaching entrepreneurship set the stage for children to have the ability to thrive. Memphis Entrepreneurship Academy’s focus is not to manufacture cookie-cutter kid businesses. There are underlying values and lessons that children learn through entrepreneurship which implant in them skills that will carry them not only through their academic careers but in their personal and professional lives as well as they mature into adulthood.
The entrepreneur must create value, whether that means building a better mousetrap, offering a unique service or providing a product that’s cheaper, faster or better. Learning how to do this helps a child understand that they can make or do things that other people consider valuable. With that understanding comes a personal sense of worth.
Also, engaging in entrepreneurial work gives a child an opportunity to solve problems, come up with ideas, deal with people and make an income. All these things bolster their sense of worth.
Control Over One’s Life
There’s a myth that an entrepreneur leads a risky life and an employee has security. That may have been true 30 years ago when jobs were stable, but the truth is today’s employees are never sure if they will have a job next week.
It’s the entrepreneur that has true control over their future. Entrepreneurs can’t be fired, they can’t be laid off and they have the power to give themselves a raise, a new project, a vacation or a bonus.
By teaching your child how to start and run a business, you’re equipping them with the ability to take care of their economic needs for life and that’s true control. Of course, being an entrepreneur has it’s own sets of challenges and there are certainly times when an entrepreneur has work but no income! But the entrepreneur is in the driver’s seat and is not at the mercy of management, corporate strategies or a human resources department.
Ever since parents dreamt of their children becoming president there’s been a desire to see our kids become leaders. Maybe running the country is not a goal you have for your child, but being able to lead people is important skill for day-to-day life. Entrepreneurialism builds excellent leadership skills.
The entrepreneur must have the ability to lead because often they are working in an environment where not much is figured out. There’s no big established infrastructure for their business, there’s no mature market for their product or service and they don’t always have lot’s of money to work with. The entrepreneur, if she wants to succeed, must get other people to buy into and follow her vision for the future. She has to get people to take a step of faith with her and work hard to make her goals materialize and that’s leadership.
Self Governance & Responsibility
As an entrepreneur, one quickly realizes that actions have direct and significant impact on life. Putting off work or spending too much time on entertainment results in your business falling apart. It is easy to see a direct correlation between your diligence and the health of your business and your life.
This connection helps a child understand the value of taking on responsibility because they can see the benefit to them when they work hard. In the younger years children do what they are asked to do out of obedience. But, as they get older they start to question and resist—why should I have to do chores? When the work they do directly impacts their situation they quickly realize that putting in the extra effort or paying attention to detail is worth it and they begin to govern themselves.
Transferable Skill Sets
Business ownership creates an environment where theory is applied. Subjects like math, science, history and language all come into play on a daily basis for the entrepreneur. Many kids who wrestle with a subject suddenly find that they understand it better, and even enjoy it, when it has a practical application. Entrepreneurialism gives them that opportunity.
Also, the things learned while starting and running one’s own business transfer to a child’s scholastic endeavors and their day-to-day life. They learn about developing processes, meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult people, navigating bureaucracy, utilizing resources, problem solving, managing time and engaging people. These are skills that apply to every aspect of life. They can be hard to develop and many adults struggle to master them, but entrepreneurship provides the perfect environment for a child to acquire and apply them.
Take a look at your son’s bedroom and ask yourself how many times you’ve had to tell him to clean it. He’s not too motivated. The entrepreneur is motivated because running a business directly connects actions to success or failure.
In the working world, the employee’s actions can be removed from their own success or failure. A person may be a very hard worker and a great employee, but still get passed over for a promotion or raise. Conversely, we all know folks that are not good employees but do just fine in their careers.
Being an entrepreneur is different. If the entrepreneur does not work, he does not eat. Yet, if he works hard he stands the chance to greatly improve his situation. Even if he can’t take much money out of his company while he’s building it, he knows that he’s building equity. His actions are directly tied to his own success or failure. That’s motivating. For a child exploring entrepreneurialism, sometimes all it take is making their first $20 to make the connection between their actions and their situation. It does not take long for that lesson to apply to other parts of their life, bedrooms included.
Many adolescents and teens struggle to communicate with anyone other than friends. Talking to adults usually involves avoiding eye contact and giving short, close-ended answers. The goal seems to be to get it over with as soon as possible.
Entrepreneurialism is a great way for kids to improve their communication skills. It puts the child in a situation where they need to deal with people of all kinds and not just their peers. They need to work with customers, vendors, employees and advisors on a regular basis. This regular interaction helps them develop more confidence when communicating. It also underscores the benefits of being able to communicate well, as the child will see direct results from good interactions.
Problem solvers are in high demand. Always.
Entrepreneurs learn to solve problems on a daily basis. To launch their business they usually have to think of some problem that they can solve better than others—how to make a common task easier, some service more enjoyable or some product better. Then, they have to solve all kinds of problems just to get their business off the ground. Common obstacles include things like lack of money when getting started or not enough employees to do all the necessary work. And, once their business is up and running there are the common problems that any business person deals with, like unhappy customers, late shipments, employees quitting and unreasonable deadlines to name just a few.
Learning to be an entrepreneur, even on a small level, will give your child an understanding of the importance and process of solving problems.