Teaching children about business is a way to bring all of their learning to a focused project. This is one area in which their talents and interests can take center stage, while providing some monetary rewards seasoned with good ol’ fashioned hard work.
What exactly are the benefits of starting a business? What can children hope to learn by developing an entrepreneurial mindset? The following is a list of ten things that come to mind:
- The 3 Rs and So Much More! ~ The 3 Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic—are the basics in any education. One way to expand or build on these is through business in which each of these operations is used daily, giving a practical aspect to learning. Do you want to teach math concepts such as place value, decimal points, adding, subtracting, and percentages? Have your child count back money to customers, calculate discounts, and figure amounts owed or received.
- Leadership ~ We want our children to lead. By being business owners, they are in the league of leaders. Leaders hip requires integrity and accountability. Early business training is a unique opportunity to combat the lack of these virtues.
- Responsibility ~ Children develop the ability to say, “The buck stops here!”No excuses. Business gives each child a position of ownership. Once children take ownership, the motivation to ensure a job well done is internal. This type of motivation could never be replaced.
- Life Skills ~ Budgeting, check writing, banking, finance, true cost/value of money, and many more are all skills used in the world of business everyday. Why not use a money-making enterprise to teach these concepts? We read the reports that consumer debt is outrageously high. One reason debt is so high is that most people have no concept of the true cost of their money; your child has an opportunity to learn that early.
- Hard Work ~ There is no such thing as an overnight success. In today’s fast paced society, it is easy for children to get the impression that they can have it all and not work hard for it. By being trained at home through business, they have the opportunity to see all the steps that take place in order to bring the first dollar through the door. This helps the children recognize that most of the work involved in business goes totally unnoticed. By the time the world even knows your business exists, there have been months or even years of preparation and hard work.
- Goal Setting ~ Goal setting is key. Perhaps the profits from the business will be used to fund a college education, to buy a vehicle, or just to buy a special treat. Whatever the goal, taking the time to set goals is vital to the planning process. Goals provide the external motivation when the hard work of the business seems to be too much. Also, help your children determine why they want to have a business. How will they know that the business is successful?
- Working With Others ~ “What about socialization?” Is that not the one question we encounter most often as home schoolers? In business, by its very nature, one is interacting with other people all the time. Interactions are the lifeline of any business. Depending on the type of business, interactions will take various forms—phone calls, face-to-face meetings, email, and/or snail mail. No matter which way customers interact with business owners, they want to know that they are dealing with someone who is capable of effectively communicating and successfully working through challenges with other people.
- Critical Thinking ~ What do you do if __?There are many opportunities to fill in this blank in any business. Learning to answer the questions will be an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills. Workbook exercises are great when introducing the critical thinking process. As with any learning, it takes on more meaning when it affects you personally. Critical thinking will help your child see new opportunities for his business and solve problems in a unique way.
- Time Management ~ Everyone has the same number of hours in a day. Using them wisely and being able to give account for how we spend them involves maturity. Growing a successful business takes time. It also takes planning, management, and follow-up—all of which require the limited commodity of time. In attempting to properly meet the needs of any business while also completing necessary schoolwork, meeting family demands and engaging in social activities, it is easy to see that time management will be crucial.
- Recognizing Potential ~ Our children have many opportunities ahead of them. This world in which we live is in dire need of leaders. Through all the interactions and lessons learned from owning a business, true leaders will be formed. The reports we read today of leaders who lack integrity will be replaced with stories of leaders who not only have integrity but have servant hearts as well.
I hope the next time your child expresses an interest in starting a business, you can see the many benefits of it not only in expanding their education and giving them valuable tools for their future, but also in affecting generations to come.Questions or responses may be sent to Susan@theseaygroup.com.
Susan and her husband Ron live in Austin where they homeschool their four children. They have been real estate investors since 1997.