“I’m bored!” is the catch-cry of nearly every school-age child over the long summer holiday stretch.
Sure, you can recommend chores, movie marathons and playing outside, but nothing engages kids quite so much as the chance to make a buck.
Summer holidays are the perfect time to bring out the entrepreneur in your child. It may be an old-fashioned lemonade stand, mowing lawns, selling home-made craft or baking, pet-sitting, designing a web empire or starting their own Minecraft YouTube channel, but whatever they choose, setting up their own businesses teaches them valuable skills and combats boredom.
Plus, instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in your children is a proven way to help them grow into responsible and smart adults who will be able to create opportunities for themselves and not rely solely on their jobs for income.
They are going to need a little help from you to get them going though. Here are some ideas:
1) Goal setting
Studies show that written goals are more than 80 per cent more likely to be achieved. Help your kids learn how to identify their goals and write them down. It could be to earn enough money to buy a new tablet or to raise start-up money for a small business. Get your kids to use the S.M.A.R.T system to organise their goals – they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
2) Look for opportunities
What are the gaps out there that need filled? Do neighbours’ lawns need mowed or watered while they are away? Do pets need fed/walked? Does your child have a special talent they could busk with, or a craft they can create? Are they an online genius with an idea for a start-up? Help your kids identify the businesses and opportunities that interest them.
What is the market competition? This will help your child identify if their idea has a unique competitive advantage, or if not, how to market their idea in a way that makes it more appealing than their competition. Can they up-sell their service and sell cupcakes as well as lemonade? Can they sell three home-made bracelets for the price of two?
What does your child need to make their business a reality? Can they hire the family lawn mower at a reduced rate in order to mow neighbours’ lawns? How much set-up money is involved in a baking or lemonade business and how many biscuits do they need to sell to repay those costs and make a profit? What parental input do they need for their online enterprise? Working out the costs and inputs vs. the profits and outputs is an important step to determining the viability of their business.
All the planning in the world is fine, but it’s pointless unless they actually start their business. Get them to choose a start date and stick to it, then roll-out their idea over an identified timeframe. They can extend that timeframe if it’s going well.
Get your child to identify what worked well with their business/ businessses, what didn’t, and how they could do things differently in the future. Remember, failure is just a temporary road block on the path to success, so if it didn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. They can try something different next summer!