5 Things Kids Can Learn from Starting a Summer Business
How did you earn money as a kid? Did you do extra chores? Help out neighbors? Or did you turn to the classic go-to business for kids, the lemonade stand?
Today, if your children are looking for some extra spending money, you could encourage them to make the most of their creativity, talents, and work ethic by becoming young entrepreneurs. Learning firsthand how a business works will introduce children to new challenges and help prepare them for the future. Summer is exactly the right time to get started because students have more free time and can take advantage of a variety of seasonal work opportunities, such as landscaping or providing pet care service for vacation-goers.
Below are summer business tips for kids to try as well as some lessons they can learn along the way.
1. Hone a skill or talent.
Think about your child’s interests and goals. What are his or her favorite subjects? What activities does he or she enjoy? Which skills need development or improvement? Ask your child what he or she wants to try or to learn from the experience. Below are some ideas:
- Start a tutoring service
- Coach or offer sports lessons for beginners
- Teach music lessons
- Design and sell crafts, T-shirts, or artwork
- Run a small bakery from home
- Hold an acting workshop
2. Work on goal setting.
Encourage kids to attach a goal to their business. For younger kids, the goal might be as simple as having fun and trying something new. Older kids might be interested in setting a goal for sales or business growth. Those who are serious about becoming an entrepreneur in the future might try to make the business successful enough to include on a college application or resume. Here are some things to consider while setting goals.
- Write down the specific goal to make it final before getting started. List ways to measure the outcome to determine whether the goal is reached.
- Is the goal realistic? Don’t make it too difficult to achieve, but don’t make it too easy, either.
- What is the projected time frame for achieving the goal? Create a plan that includes dates.
- Seniors who plan to attend college in a year could set a goal for how much they want to save for college.
3. Develop math and financial skills for business.
A summer business is a great way to reinforce financial skills to younger kids and introduce older kids to more complex concepts such as balancing a checkbook, calculating gross margin, and managing the cost of overhead. Your child can either save his or her earnings or else run a volunteer service that donates its profits to charity. Either way, he or she can work on the following concepts:
- Keep track of earned income and business expenses.
- Find out how to fill out a record-keeping book.
- Learn how to properly balance a checkbook.
- Practice counting change and adding up price totals.
4. Work on communication and customer-service skills.
Listening effectively, both verbally and nonverbally, is crucial in business, plus it can benefit kids in all other areas of their lives. Here are some business situations that kids can learn a lot from.
- Explaining and promoting the product or service
- Answering customer questions
- Providing customer service
- Listening to and accommodating specific requests
- Employing and managing other people
5. Learn the different marketing techniques used by businesses.
There are many ways to spread the word about your business. While a lot of marketing techniques have gone digital, there are still a few methods that don’t require much, if any, technology. Encourage young kids to start off with low-tech methods before experimenting with the digital realm. This is a good time to incorporate a lesson on safety as well. For example, kids making business cards or flyers should be careful about what information they choose to share—and with whom. Below are some marketing ideas to try.
- Make homemade business cards.
- Spread information via word of mouth by encouraging customers to tell their friends about the business.
- Create flyers and decide on the best places to put them to reach your audience.
- Send deals and updates to friends and family through social media.
- Start a website for the business if technology is your passion.
Do you have other summer business tips for kids? What do you think is the most important lesson kids can learn from starting a summer business? Let us know.