Helping to foster entrepreneurship in kids can be a worthwhile–although time consuming–endeavor. Study after study has shown that the most financially successful men and women are also the most entrepreneurial. It is abundantly clear that small business owners have a special spark, and that their drive and hard work has allowed them to build some of the best businesses in the world, but what was the spark for their entrepreneurial spirit, and how did those budding entrepreneurs get their start?
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs credit the adults in their lives, the teachers who pushed them and the mentors who believed in them. But even before that, their parents were there, encouraging them to take risks, fostering a spirit of independence and otherwise believing in their dreams. If you want to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurship in your own household, here are 10 ways to do it.
1. Tie allowances to chores from the earliest ages.
Giving your kids money for simply existing will do nothing to foster their drive and entrepreneurial spirit. If you want your kids to be self-starters, give them a chance to earn money through household chores.
2. Brainstorm business ideas.
The next time you buy a product or use a service, talk with your kids about how it could be made better and what kinds of improvements the companies could make. If they have the interest, encourage them to draft a business plan with their own ideas. This kind of brainstorming will spark creativity in young minds, further encouraging that entrepreneurial spirit.
3. Seek a mentor for your budding entrepreneur.
If your child has expressed an interest in business and entrepreneurship, seek out a mentor to encourage them along the way. It could be a trusted colleague at work, a local business owner or a community leader who is willing to invest in the next generation.
4. Do a deep dive into the origins of a business your child admires.
Every business has an origin story, and just like superheroes, those origin stories matter. The next time your child begs to go to a Disney theme park or picks up an iPhone, use the opportunity to learn about the companies and creators behind those products and experiences.
5. Encourage community engagement.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are also sociable people, comfortable talking to friends, neighbors and strangers alike. Encouraging this kinds of community engagement in your son or daughter could lead to a thriving first business cutting lawns, shoveling snow, or running errands.
6. Focus on team building activities.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs did not get their on their own, and they are the first to admit the importance of building a great team. Focusing on team activities like sports is a great way to foster entrepreneurship in your child.
7. Encourage your kids to follow their dreams.
Entrepreneurs are dreamers, so encourage your kids to dream big and follow those dreams wherever they lead. Make sure your kids know you have their backs, and that you will support them in their business endeavors.
8. Set up a bank account for your child, one with a matching program.
Entrepreneurs need capital to get their dreams off the ground, so encourage your child to save and invest from a young age. Setting up a bank account and offering to match the money they save is a great way to encourage fiscal responsibility in your son or daughter.
9. Set a good example.
Your kids will listen to you, but even more importantly they will watch you. If you want to encourage entrepreneurship in your kids, start by setting a good example. Whether you take on a side hustle to earn extra income or start your own small business, your kids will be watching.
10. Encourage the development of problem solving skills.
The ability to solve complex problems is something most successful entrepreneurs have in common, and encouraging those skills from a young age is a great thing to do for your child. Instead of giving your kids all the answers, give them the skills they need to figure things out for themselves.
Successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, from humble beginnings and wealthy families, from impoverished countries to first world nations. But those entrepreneurs all have a few things in common, and parents can learn a lot by studying those traits and encouraging them in their own children. The 10 steps listed above can help you encourage your kids to live out their entrepreneurial dreams, giving them a jump start on the future in the process.