Why you should encourage entrepreneurship among kidsMathew J Maniyamkott
When I was seventeen, pursuing my first year of engineering in Pondicherry, I earned a few thousand rupees here and there by selling computer courses. It was a commission-based business and I used to get a rush every time I persuaded someone to pay a fee of seven thousand-odd rupees for the course.
It felt exhilarating for two reasons. One because it was a source of quick pocket money and the second reason was that I thought I could pursue this line of work.
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Computer Science Engineering never fascinated me (although I wish I had learned to code at some point in my life) and by final year of engineering, I had decided that I was going to sell computer courses for the rest of my life. Boy! My dad lost it on hearing this hare-brained decision of mine.
Well, life turned out to be much different than I expected it to be. A decade, two jobs and an MBA later, I have persuaded my parents to give me a year’s time to do my own thing. I have six months left now and I feel I might be on to something that could possibly be the holy-grail, the chalice that I am looking forward to. The feeling of entrepreneurship gave me a lot of hope, freedom and comfort (although there are parts of me that is still reeling in shock from the uncertainty) that I would never want to trade it with anything else.
Should you not help your children experience the same?
Let us see ways in which you can help your kids imbibe some business values:
Make them think like an entrepreneur
It is important to show children why there is more beyond a desktop job. Prompt them to earn a buck selling scrap lying around the house (though a watchful eye is advised). Narrate to them success stories of people. Explain about the different kinds of businesses that they encounter daily. If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, give him a rough tour of how you deal with your business and an outlook into your everyday work life. If Maggi is what your kid is passionate about, given the age, ask him to consider different varieties of Maggi that can be sold to customers. Set up a small shop outside your home or at a local market place and look at your kid slowly growing up into an entrepreneur in a way that no Ivy League MBA can.
Allow them to earn money
If your child walks up to you and asks for an allowance, now is the time for you to encourage the entrepreneur in your kid. Tell your kid that he/she needs to provide value to earn money. They can be encouraged to come to your office and help you with odd jobs, like arranging paperwork etc. This will also teach them to be frugal with their expenditure.
Encourage them to come up with business ideas
Create an environment where you and your kid can ideate for business ideas. Help him/her understand how to come up with business plans. The obstacles they may face every day and how to overcome them. You never know your kid might come up with something earth-shattering, the only way to know is let your child's creative juices run wild.
Teach them the importance of marketing, sales and communication
No matter how good a product is, if you don’t know how to market and sell it, you are bound to shut shop soon. You need these two to scale your business, you need them to sustain!
At the prospect of sounding a little preposterous, I say this, teach your kids how to communicate properly. Help your children understand the importance of writing good emails and negotiate tactfully. The importance of how to connect with people is the ultimate barometer when it comes to learning about business. At the end of the day, everything is about people.
It’s the little things that your kid learns that will help them when they grow up. Showing them the ways of entrepreneurship puts both you and your child to think out the box.