A 1994 Gallup poll revealed that 7 out of 10 high school kids wanted to start their own businesses. Some of these kids don't wait until they're adults to get going on their dream. They may demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit of innovation, self-reliance, and hard work by starting a business while they're still kids.
There's good reason for the high level of interest in being an entrepreneur. Some kids may have seen their parents downsized from corporate America and want to avoid being in a similar situation later in life. They may think that when they grow up, they'll have their own companies and create their own job security. And what better way to prepare for that status than to start a business while they're still kids.
Today there are good reasons why kids can and should get started early in pursuing their dreams of owning their own businesses.
An entrepreneur is someone who starts and runs a business. An entrepreneur assumes the risk for the opportunity to turn a profit.
- Opportunities are there. Thanks to expanded computer programs in the schools and the reduction in the price of home computers, kids today are almost all computer-literate. Computer technology has made it possible for kids, like many adults, to start up businesses without leaving home.
- Information and help is available. Kids aren't left entirely to their own devices. They can get assistance from many organizations and other sources to learn business skills and get started.
Talent's Needed for Running a Business
Adults know that entrepreneurs are a breed apart and must possess certain attributes to succeed. Before your child starts a business, she should ask herself whether she has what it takes to make it in business. Here are some questions your child should ask herself if she thinks she wants to start a business:
- Is she a responsible person? No one (other than you) will be there to remind her of what has to be done. Being in business means keeping promises to customers that she'll do what she says she'll do. For example, if she promises to walk a neighbor's dog every afternoon, she must be there, even if it's bad weather, if she doesn't feel good, or if there's a big game after school.
- Does she have the special skills that her business entails? If she wants to teach computer use to seniors at a senior center, does she know how to operate the word-processing program on the center's computer? If she plans to make jewelry, is she artistically inclined?
- Is she organized? Being in business requires a child to keep things straight. She must be able to know what to bill, to collect money, to buy supplies, and to schedule jobs at times that can be kept.
- Does she have the time needed for the business? Today, kids are highly scheduled with after-school activities, such as piano lessons and basketball practice. These activities may not leave much time for other things, including running a business. Your child must have some idea of when she'll conduct business. After school? On the weekends? Only in the summer?