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Remember when we used to hold garage sales and sell lemonade on the side as children? Those certainly were the humble days of doing business.
Although you must admit, there's much to be gained for today's—and future—children from even the simplest endeavors. Consider these four approaches to building and fostering your children's skills and entrepreneurial attitudes for future success.
Let's start with the most obvious one: problem-solving. Your children will have heard this phrase many times from their teachers in school, and use the skill in many subjects like mathematics. But this skill will also prove to be quite valuable in real-life scenarios, too.
Going back to the lemonade example, there's a chance your children might not make as many sales as they believe they will—if at all (a crazy thought—it's lemonade, after all—but just roll with it). Frustrated, they may come to you for advice. Instead of giving away all the answers, ask them questions to get them thinking about what could be holding them back.
In this instance, they could include anything from your neighbourhood demographics to testing your children's creative sensibilities as far as the aesthetic of their lemonade stand goes. It's important for children to evaluate all possibilities, regardless of the situation, as well as their pros and cons.
Even still, your children will inevitably face many obstacles on their entrepreneurial quest and feel a little more defeated with every turn of events. In every great tale, the legendary hero learns to overcome their fears and frustrations in order to save the day from certain doom.
In this case, the best resource your children will have to learn stress management from is you. So take this opportunity to talk to your children about issues you often face in the workplace. Ask them how they might handle those situations if they were in your position. Of course, admit to any overwhelming emotions and acknowledge them as normal; the idea is to find healthy ways to manage them together with your children. This could be an integral part of your family communication routine, and it definitely allows for a two-way learning process.
Entering the business world can be a pretty scary step, especially where finances are concerned. Whether they're selling lemonade or even entirely new products/product ideas, a great way to ease your children into the playing field is to help them budget their resources so that they develop good money habits. Have them create charts and agendas that outline their budget plans once you've given them a loan(s), and later create spreadsheets to keep track of things like expenditures and revenue. Avoid simply giving them money for anything they need, as it gives off the impression of careless spending.
Above all, let your children take the reigns and cultivate solid entrepreneurial values on their own. Give them the opportunity to start positive relationships with their customers, and to find the motivation to keep the business growing. Your continued encouragement will undoubtedly help here, especially once you start discussing the rewards and benefits with them. However, be sure to explain why it's crucial to maintain trust with their customers, by getting them to talk about their products and services to them in detail.
Though as serious as this all sounds, there's nothing wrong with making business fun and exciting for your children as well. Let them be curious and playful in tone as this will help them establish their unique brand and grow closer with their customers. Besides asking them how their school day was, you'll also be asking them how their work day went—you'll surely have much to share with one another! Growing together as an entrepreneurial family will shape your children's future goals in an endearing and positive way.