Globalisation, economic crises, decreased earning power, high-speed technology and dynamic employment markets are the markers of today’s world. The traditional model of a university degree followed by a stable job and a steady progression up the career ladder has become out-dated. Simply put, for today’s generation, the future seems really daunting. Students graduating from top universities often struggle for months to find a decent job. Unpaid internships abound and often amount to nothing even after the six-month sacrifice. How can we teach our children to create their own opportunities? How can you teach your kids to become entrepreneurs? Here are ten lessons from entrepreneurs and seasoned parents on how to improve the confidence levels of our children, turn them into leaders and help them create successful lives through entrepreneurial education and opportunities.
Teach your Kids to Become Entrepreneurs
“Goal setting is vital for future success.”
Teaching your children how to set and accomplish their goals can be a fun and highly effective activity. Studies show that written goals are over 80% more likely to be achieved.
How: Ask your children to define and write down their top five goals. To increase effectiveness and feeling of accomplishment, make sure that each goal is S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Next, write down five actions necessary to accomplish these goals. Don’t forget to put them up somewhere where you and your children can easily see them. Encourage and support your children in reaching their defined goals and be sure to enjoy the rewards together.
“Kids must learn how to recognise opportunities.”
Many people never meet their full potential because they fail to recognise an opportunity. Teaching your children to seek out opportunities and seize them will directly contribute to their level of future success.
How: Praise your children for pointing out small problems or setbacks in their lives that cause them distress: from losing unsaved essays to not being able to reach items on a high shelf. Brainstorm solutions on how to resolve what’s troubling them. Turning crisis into opportunity teaches children to focus on creating positive solutions rather than the problem itself. Every issue has a solution so rather than accepting life as a fact, teach children that they can always have an impact. This habit will allow them to develop profitable ideas in their future businesses.
“Selling is involved in every part of life.”
The ability to sell is an invaluable life skill. It applies to every human interaction whether in a business sphere or over the course of a career. From selling products and services to customers to raising capital from investors, this skill is vital to the success of any business.
How: Encourage your children to start with small projects like selling their old toys, starting a lemonade stand, or offering their pet-sitting services. Let them price their products, sell to customers, and facilitate the transactions when they make sales.
“Financial literacy is a must.”
This is one area that we all could use help with. Teaching children about money at an early age will give kids a solid grounding in finance. This is something that schools often don’t give enough attention.
How: Give your children the opportunity to earn their own money through chores, their own small business or helping you in your company. Educate them about investing to show them how their money could be used to create more wealth in the future. Help them set up a bank account and let them learn how to budget their income.
“Inspiring creativity will build marketing skills.”
Teaching kids about marketing is a great way to help them attract customers to their future business. As we all know, without customers, even the greatest business will fail. This is a very beneficial skill to learn while young. How: Motivate your children to start analysing the messages behind marketing materials like billboards, promotional banners in front of businesses, printed advertisements in magazines, and television/radio commercials. Ask them what catches their attention about the message and see if they can identify the meaning behind the logo, tagline, and “call to action.” Encourage them to create their own marketing materials for their business ideas.
“Schools are wrong about FAILURE.”
In school, we’re taught that failure is severe. In the entrepreneurial arena, failure can be a great thing if a positive lesson is learned. Napoleon Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich believes that, “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.” Failure will force them to create new ways to accomplish their goals and learn from their mistakes. This will lead to confident children who know how to persevere when times are tough.
How: This lesson is simple. When your children fail, instead of punishing them, try discussing which factors lead to the failure and brainstorm ways to prevent it from happening again in the future. Always try to find the “learning lesson” in every adverse situation and encourage your children NEVER to give up.
“Effective communication improves all relationships.”
Because of the popularity of social media and text messaging, most children today tend to be terrible at face-to-face and telephone communication. Successful businesses require that people speak to one another. Teaching your children to communicate effectively will give them a winning edge in business and their relationships.
How: First, lead by example. Teach your children to be polite and respectful. Most importantly, practice maintaining eye contact when speaking in person. When using the telephone, teach your children to speak slowly and clearly. Another useful activity is to practice communicating with your children in e-mails. Don’t let them abbreviate words and phrases and encourage them to write grammatically correct sentences that flow together clearly and logically. Explain to them the importance of always proofreading their written communications so they can convey a message.
“The art of giving back creates happiness.”
Why start a business if it doesn’t support a more significant cause? It’s important for children to understand the importance of helping others. It’s an attribute that will allow them to stay humble during periods of great success and will help them realise that a successful business provides benefits to more than just its owner. People that contribute to the success of others live happy and content lives.
How: When brainstorming business ideas with your children, ask them to choose a charity or particular cause to support with a portion of the income that they generate. Explain the concept that contributing to improving the lives of others benefits society as a whole.
“Independence creates confidence.”
Who doesn’t want their children to be independent and successful? Entrepreneurial thinking shows kids how to depend on themselves for their own success which in turn leads to well-rounded adults and future leaders.
How to teach: The next time your children ask for money to buy their favourite toy or gadget, ask them to brainstorm ways to create the money through entrepreneurship. This will inspire creative thinking and get the entrepreneurial juices flowing.
By Lindy Abittan – Entrepreneur