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5 Ways Young People Become Better Entrepreneurs | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

5 Ways Young People Become Better Entrepreneurs

Money-Euro-USD-LEI_53073-480x360photo © 2010 Emilian Robert Vicol | more info (via: Wylio)
With the right experiences and opportunities to make mistakes, young people can become successful entrepreneurs. In the Financial Times, David Koeppel wrote, “When Entrepreneurs Are Too Young to Succeed,” outlining the risks young entrepreneurs face. Koeppel describes the pitfalls but misses the solution.  The more experiences young people bring to business, the more likely they are to succeed. Here’s how.

  1. Small Beginnings. It’s harder for young people to get jobs than it used to be. I ran a paper route at age 10.  Nevertheless, a snow shovel or a cookie sheet could be a stepping stone to business 101. Mowing lawns can grow to a bigger business. When my daughter was younger, she made and sold cake rolls and dinner rolls to raise money to pay her tuition for the Evansville Children’s Choir. One talented teen babysitter designed a password protected website for her clients so they could check her calendar and book her online.
  2. Nonprofit Fundraisers. Volunteer for nonprofits. Our 4-H leaders welcome young people at catering dinners. They learn customer interaction, teambuilding, and more.
  3. Youth Organizations. Smart youth development programs put teens fully in charge of their own fundraisers. Our Vanderburgh County 4-H Junior Leaders completely run a food booth at our county fair. Their success fully depends on themselves. No adults rescue them if there aren’t enough workers or they didn’t order enough food. When my daughter was their treasurer last year, she camped on the fairgrounds with another family so she could be there when they closed and be up early each morning to make food orders.
  4. College Programs. College business programs can better prepare their students. The School of Business at the University of Evansville requires all business majors to complete internships. Hands on experience is a great teacher of Office Politics 101. In addition, UE offers an entrepreneurial program where its business majors can develop a business plan and present it in a competition where the winner earns seed money to begin the business.
  5. Family Businesses. My husband and I have run The Copper Lion, Inc., for 11 years. We’re a mom and pop digital graphics shop that provides services to national ad agencies and Fortune 500 clients. Our kids have grown up with a work state of life, where our schedules revolve around client needs, with time carved out for family. For extra income, we sometimes sell books at conventions, and our kids have grown up helping us set up, sell, tear down, and inventory. They’ve seen us eat shoplifting losses and smile all day while we talk with every customer, no matter how tired we are.  They’ve seen us put up with government paperwork, such as the year we were audited by unemployment to make sure we were paying all unemployment taxes for my husband and me.

Kids who grow up in an entrepreneurial home develop a different mindset because of their experiences. I recently spent an afternoon with a nursing major who grew up with her father in a family business. She had seen him succeed despite roadblocks and too much paperwork by government bureaucrats. In the process, she honed a business sense to spot problems, see strengths, and understand what it takes to succeed in business.

Yes, it’s harder for young people to gain those experiences in a tough economy with high unemployment. Nevertheless, they can do it and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in business with a lot of trying.

 

 


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