Nov 7

How To Develop Entrepreneurial Thinking In Kids

If you’d like to help your child develop entrepreneurial thinking, you don’t need to go far. This is because an entrepreneurial mindset starts with parents. In this article, we’ll share simple tips to encourage children think like entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship – the skill of the future

According to research, entrepreneurship is one of the fundamental skills to thrive in the future workplace. It involves skills in four domains:
  • Courage and risk-taking
  • Driving change and innovation
  • Energy, passion and optimism
  • Breaking orthodoxies.

It is, therefore, no wonder why modern parents are so keen for their children to acquire these important skills earlier to benefit them not only at a future workplace, but also in life. And the good thing is that teaching an entrepreneurial mindset, unlike teaching entrepreneurial skills, can be done by parents without any special education.

Definition of “Entrepreneurial”

In her article “How To Raise Entreprenerial Kids”, Jodie Cook suggests synonyms of being entrepreneurial - “confident, positive, creative, resourceful, and resilient”.

And while not every child may be interested in starting a business of their own, these are great competences to develop early, preferably under parents’ supervision, such as being brave to face a problem and work out a solution; able to think critically, see gaps and opportunities, as well as think outside of the box.

Entrepreneurial thinking is more than running a business. It is about building confidence of innovating, not being afraid of failures and having courage to learn from mistakes. It is therefore a great way to lay foundations and help children create an entrepreneurial mindset, to prepare them for the future in the same way as school teaching does.

Ways to teach your child think like an entrepreneur

1. Embrace an explorer’s mindset  

True entrepreneurs never stop learning. Encourage your child to be curious and ask them “why” questions about everyday situations.

My daughter is an aspiring cook, so for her understanding the role of different ingredients is super important when she reads product labels.  

Here are a few clues to provoke creative thinking in kids:
  • Why school uniforms are made of mostly synthetic fabrics?
  • Why do people buy a chewing gum (and do they really need it in the first place)?
  • What are the most popular colours of cars and why it is so?  

The entrepreneurship challenge in the board game for kids has questions children may want to explore, in order to think like pretend ice cream sellers. It is important to teach your child that there are choices. Not to do anything and not to think creatively, is also a choice. Entrepreneurs are always exercising their creative muscles.

2.  Recognise opportunities

The entrepreneurial journey of Alina Morse began when she was 7 years old. This is when she saw an opportunity of creating sugar-free lollipops as an alternative to conventional, teeth-unfriendly treats. A few years on, and her business was named the Fastest Growing Candy Company in America in 2020 by Inc. Magazine.  

Encourage your child to observe and pay attention to everyday life situations, whether during supermarket shopping, at playground, or at an after-school activity. What are some of the problems people are facing and how they can be solved?   Perhaps, they have a certain problem themselves, such as getting ready for school or organising their own room, which they can solve? And when they do, how can it benefit more people with a similar problem?  

3.  Find new applications for usual things

Ask your child of a few things in the house and how those things could be used in new ways, to create something of value. For example, what could be done with a pack of drinking straws? Maybe it is a good idea to recycle the straws and create home decorations, Christmas tree snowflakes, or unusual photo frames? How about fabric leftovers? Perhaps, they would make nice head ribbons or cute handmade souvenirs? Obviously, the questions provoke thinking differently and you can gently guide them by giving clues instead of the answers.    

4.  Use your talents to benefit others

Many successful entrepreneurs admit that doing what you love is the best thing you can do for work. In my business course for kids "Online Marketing Course For Young Entrepreneurs" I teach children how to discover and monetise their talents. Are they fluent in a language others may be willing to learn? Or, perhaps, they passed an exam and now they can tutor someone who is preparing to sit one? 

Help your child think what they are good at, what comes to them naturally and how their talents or skills can benefit other people. If they are unsure, engage them to develop hobbies to spark learning curiosity.  

5.  Play debates

Pick a topic, preferably around the interests of your child (hobbies is a good idea) and take opposite views. Some general examples are - “Should phones be allowed as a learning resource?” or “Should school students be allowed to select subjects they would like to study?”, etc. This type of activity is a safe place for your child to make a decision, speak out their mind and defend it with arguments. It helps them see opportunities, explore the topic and be assertive in creating their own opinions, which all make important characteristics of entrepreneurial thinking.  

6.  Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them

Overcoming failures is another side of entrepreneurship and risk-taking involves acceptance that things may not work quite the way we want. The key is to learn from those failures and keep trying. This is how many successful entrepreneurs became what we know of them today.  

In the article “Entrepreneurship: Reality Check For Kids” I show that entrepreneurship is never a smooth journey (at least most of the time), yet it does not need to put off your child from their goals. They need to know that when a failure comes their way, they need to be prepared to embrace it and move forward. It is important, therefore, to teach kids that failures are their friends, not enemies, and make the most of learning from mistakes.  

7.  Guess play
Using examples of local businesses, try to guess what problem or need they are addressing with their offer. What types of customers they are targeting, based on their socio-economic and geographical characteristics, such as families with kids, pet owners or local citizens. Is their business affected by seasonality? In other words, do they sell more during certain months of the year, i.g. school supplies or winter clothing? How do they attract customers? If you were an owner of this business, what would you change and what would be the consequences of these changes?  

8.  Read about successful entrepreneurial stories

Many brands we know today have inspiring stories which are often based on life journeys of their founders, such as Hilton Millers – a founder of the chocolate company. Reading such stories helps children realise they already have everything they need, and if they decide one day to start a business, they can.  

9.    Talk to the local business owners

This is a living example of people who can share what challenges they come across every day and how they overcome them. Learning from real people has so much value! It gives your child an opportunity to learn firsthand and develop a flavour to think like an entrepreneur.  

You may have noticed that not once we’ve talked about money in this article. This is because when it comes to learning about money concepts and what affect earning and spending, is about developing entrepreneurial skills, rather than an entrepreneurial mindset.

If you feel that your child is ready to do the next step and become a young entrepreneur, enrol them in the business course for kids “Online Marketing Course For Young Entrepreneurs” where they will learn marketing foundations in a kid-friendly way and core business concepts to make money.
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