Will your student be an employee or an employer? Instilling the entrepreneurial spirit is a great way to show them the skills they need to have great business acumen. If they have a hobby or a skill, they can easily turn this into a small business where they can learn valuable lessons on how to be successful.
The first thing to do is to start with some training. Show your student the inner workings of the business world by finding them a mentor that can show them the ropes. Get them to pick a business they like and then find a friend or family member who can act as a mentor. Many organizations have mentoring groups and its easy to find mentors on the Internet.
Mentoring can take a number of different forms. Your student can actually work in a business over the summer to learn the ropes, or they can shadow their mentors to learn what it takes to be a great business person. There is so much to master from a business plan to marketing, service and financial management.
Once your student has a basic idea of how businesses run, its time to put their ideas into practice. This can be as simple as running a lemonade stand to starting their own online Etsy store. Etsy lets you set up an online store and list items for sale for very little capital outlay.
Business is about learning in a scientific manner what works and what doesn’t. Adapting to customer needs, and changing aspects of your business in ‘managed’ ways to increase sales is an important part of running a business. For example, if your students are running a lemonade stand, you can teach them about making their lemonade stand more visible by adding decorations. You can teach them about customer service and how being friendly and helpful will keep their customers happy. You can also teach them about diversifying their portfolios by offering cookies with their lemonade. You can discuss their environmental impact and suggest using biodegradable cups. To illustrate your points, start with a plain lemonade stand with no decorations, poor service and no cookies. Add a new aspect every day and see your profits increase.
Older students can try Etsy or eBay stores. Here they can take hobbies like making jewelry or upcycled furniture and turn them into a store. Once they have enough stock for their store, you can help them to work out their costs to price items fairly. You can also explore various marketing methods like flyers, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, guest blogging and craft fares.
These endeavours help your students to make a little extra money while learning about the business world. If you create an online market or do things in your neighbourhood, there doesn’t need to be a large capital outlay. Ensure that your students balance their business time with academic time too.
The bottom line here is that learning how to be a successful business person is not something you are born with. It takes time to develop and parents can help their children in this process. An article on Yahoo from Inc.com titled ‘7 Habits of the Ultra Wealthy‘ illustrates one of the most important factors that distinguishes the ultra wealthy from the rest of the population. That distinguishing factor is having a financial interest in their work. The article states:
An equity position is necessary to get wealthy. Ninety percent of the super-successful say this is true, versus fewer than half of the masses. More importantly, 80 percent of “business brilliant” people say they already have an equity stake in their work. Just 10 percent of the middle-class have an equity position of any kind, and the vast majority (70 percent) say they’re not even trying to get one.
Note: This entry was adapted from the Tutor Doctor blog published on 3/18/2013 titled How to Encourage your Student to become an Entrepreneur.