Encouraging your budding entrepreneur – Part One: Benefits

June 16, 2008

A few weeks ago, JLP mentioned that he was giving his trimmer to his son, who is going to start his own business doing yard work for neighbors this summer. When I read this, I thought it would be a great opportunity for JLP to help his son gain valuable experience in entrepreneurship. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the benefits of entrepreneurship at a young age. In Part Two, I’ll offer some tips for encouraging your child.

The Benefits of a Business

There are a surprising number of teenagers who started a business that grew into a multimillion dollar company. In fact, Forbes ran an article earlier this year about five teen millionaires. I don’t know if JLP’s son will be joining their ranks, but hopefully he’ll learn some of the following things along the way:

  • Social and networking skills. – These are difficult skills for many adults, especially the talking to strangers part. Yet, the ability to make a stranger feel comfortable and want to help you is critical to networking and can open many doors.
  • How to balance income and expenses. – Every business must bring in more money than it spends to survive, and individuals shouldn’t spend more than they earn. (Though we all know how that goes in real life for many people.) This is a good chance for JLP’s son to learn to track the income and expenses related to his business. He’ll be off to a good start not having to pay for a trimmer, but he might run into maintenance and other costs along the way. He can learn to keep his expenses to a minimum, so that he can maximize his profits.
  • Creativity and critical thinking. These are important life skills that can be nurtured from a very young age. As an adult, they can serve to come up with novel solutions to difficult problems. JLP’s son can develop these skills by thinking about how to grow and manage his business.
  • A sense of responsibility and work ethic. JLP’s son will have to show up for work even if he doesn’t feel like it, or face the consequences of not doing so. Absenteeism or a shoddy job would most likely result in lost business and therefore, lost income, not to mention he’ll be feeling pretty crummy about himself. On the other hand, being reliable and doing a great job will pay off in increased business and increased tips. He may even find that some neighbors are so taken with him that they give him additional responsibility and opportunities he couldn’t have predicted.

What other benefits can be gained from a teen business?

4 responses to Encouraging your budding entrepreneur – Part One: Benefits

  1. First off, let me state that I wish I had someone encouraging to be an entrepreneur. I hope to do some of the steps you mentioned above when I have kids and they get old enough.

    I think the biggest benefit that a teen can gain is a real sense of finances and how much things cost. If anything, it may help them be a little less dependent on their parents and how they always need money. You can just tell them to go mow a lawn instead!

  2. I would add allowing for their first “failed business”. Most entrepreneur’s fail more than once and having this experience under their belt before they return 18 would teach them very value lesons while the stakes remain low.

  3. @Luke – Stay tuned. I’m about to post some discussion points.

    @Luis – Excellent point, I’m adding that to Part Two right now. Thanks!

  4. Aside from the sense of how finances work there’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes with owning your own business (especially when its service oriented). You get to learn what the real world values and that you are responsible for what you say you’re going to do.

    Another thing that JLPs son might learn is the value of good customer service and the power of a referral.