Think on the spot!

I am surrounded by a group of young aspiring entrepreneurs, eight to ten year olds, who want to learn about business. Their parents are sitting in the back.

As always, I first play a little game with the kids: “Tell me, what qualities do you think are necessary today to be successful in a career? “ Kids almost step on each other to give me answers: “Be smart!” “Have fun!” “Think on the spot!”  “Have your own business!”

Then, I play the game with the parents in the back of the room asking them the same question. A long, thoughtful silence is followed by: “Be a team player!” “Have strong technology skills!” “Have strong communication skills!” “Listen to you boss!”

I ask the little girl in the front row how does one learn to think on the spot. “Well, practice more!”  she replies unfettered. And what is her business idea?  She tells me about a recipe for a new drink, which she would sell in the summer, together with cookies for which, she again, has a unique recipe.  All the other kids nod approvingly, and jump in with suggestions. We do a quick brainstorm to find the right name for the drink. “Red Surprise” gets the highest number of votes.  Then we play with the three steps I gave them for starting a business:

  • Create value (product/service)
  • Engage your audience (marketing, delivery channels)
  • Have a fair exchange (sales, pricing)

When I ask the kids what do they understand by ‘exchange” they quickly reply: “To make money? Ya, we like making money!”  The little girl looks at me with big eyes and says: “I did not realize there are so many steps to selling my special drink.”

There are a few steps, yes, but when one practices how to start new little ventures often, these steps become fun and useful explorations. And when one learns early in life what goes into finding and creating new business opportunities, thinking on the spot gets really easy.

“Raising Young Entrepreneurs” April 7th, at 7PM, Newton Free Library

I am grateful to Ellen Meyers, Director of Programs and Communications at the Newton Free Library for her great work with teens and for giving me a chance to discuss my work. Click here for part of the recent NewTV Interview.

On April 7th at 7PM I will speak at the Newton Free Library about guiding young entrepreneurs to build ventures and to follow dreams, and about the importance of parents’ participation in fostering entrepreneurship.

We will play a few games and have a live demo for entrepreneurs of all ages!

Many young entrepreneurs have excellent money making ideas, and need a bit of support in getting their projects off the ground. Kids are great at playing with ideas, and are less risk averse than adults in experimenting. Parents have an important role in supporting and stimulating the entrepreneurial drive in their kids. We will speak about simple steps parents can take at home to teach their kids the art of the entrepreneur.

What: Raising Young Entrepreneurs

Date: April 7th, 2011

Time: 7PM

Where: Newton Free Library || 330 Homer Street, Newton, MA 02459