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Developing Business Skills in Children

Gone are the days when children were taught only to go to school, do their homework and help Daddy and Mummy at home.
Times have changed. With the development of technology, there are more business opportunities springing up every day and children are fastly catching up with adults in creating wealth. They not only run their own businesses they are also becoming young millionaires. Fatmata and Mariama are two sisters aged 11 and 14. They run a call center at Liverpool street, Freetown. They started a year ago when their father died when their mother could not afford to continue their education. At that time they were always at their mum’s shop assisting her to sell when she was not around. Their dream is to save as much money as they can so that they can go back to school.
How can I make my kids enterprising? What are the easy ways for a kid to make money fast? How can I start a business as a kid? How can kids make money fast? What are the best business ideas for kids? If any of these questions are on your mind, then read on because I am about to reveal how to develop entrepreneurial skills in your child.
1. Teach them to have the right mindset
A child, you must first have the right mindset. They must appreciate the value of money and understand its workability. They must also understand the fact that money is not scarce; as it is taught to be. Let them understand the fact that a mere knowledge and application of the law of demand and supply is the big difference between those that are suffering in penury and those living in abundance. They must also be prepared to put in the required effort needed to succeed and lastly, they must believe in themselves and their own creative ideas.
2. Think up a Good Business idea or find a business opportunity
“If you want to make money fast, simply solve other peoples’ problems or satisfy their needs.”
As the entrepreneurial spirit within Mariama and Fatmata grew stronger, they began to see business opportunities around that other’s couldn’t see.
They even saw opportunities within their mom’s business premises that even their mom couldn’t see. How did they come up with the idea of starting a call centre and voucher retailing outlet?
While managing their mom’s shop, Mariama observed that the woman running a call centre shop opposite their mom’s doesn’t open shop regularly.
After carefully observing the woman for sometime; she drew up a plan and went about researching the ins and outs of running a call centre.
Her plan was to fill the gap left by the woman. Now this was how she came up with the idea. It wasn’t rocket science. Mariama simply saw a need which was fueled by a woman’s lack of punctuality and she filled it.
3. Raise the needed capital
Now how was a girl of thirteen able to raise the needed capital to start her business? Mariama is known in the family for her enterprising spirit and the call centre wasn’t her first business adventure. While managing her mom’s shop, she observed that there were some items that customers were demanding but her mom wasn’t stocking them. When Mariama took the observation to her mom, she said she wasn’t interested in selling these items because their profit margin was low. She took note of the fact that while the profit margin for these items was low, the demand was high. So instead of allowing her mom’s negativity to stop her; she decided to stock these items with her own money.
With the little she had in savings, she raised more money from her two older brothers with the promise of repaying them with interest at a set time.
That was how she started trading on retail items in her mom’s shop.
As for the call centre start-up, she raised capital from her savings and got additional capital from her mom, but the total start-up fund was nothing to write home about. But did lack of sufficient capital despair her? The answer is no.
4. Start the Business
Armed with insufficient capital and the will to succeed, Mariama and her sister launched the business. Sincerely speaking, it was hell for her in the early stages of her business.
I recalled how she bootstrapped the business; constantly racing between her shop and her supplier’s, because she was running on a lean budget. At this crucial stage, passion and the joy of owning her own business was what kept her going.
Gradually, she built capital, made some mistakes which made her cry, lost money to some dubious customers and grew in experience. As business progressed, my Mariama and her sister became experienced in the art of dealing with customers, handling finances, studying trends and growing a business.
5. Keep the ball rolling!
As at the time of writing this, article Mariama and her sister are still in the business grinding it out. They now have two call centre
outlets instead of one. Though Fatmata is only 11 years old; she handles the business with competence and confidence because she has been groomed by Mariama in the art of running a successful call centre business.
In conclusion, I want to point out that nothing is impossible to a willing heart and age is only a matter of numbers. One of the reasons why I encourage parents to start a business for their kids is because the financial education and real life experience that a kid receives while running a business can never be acquired in school. So if you have your kid walk up to you with an idea, don’t turn that kid down; don’t look down on that kid. Rather, give such a kid the needed mental and financial support; and most importantly, help that kid start a business no matter how small it is. Who knows, you might just be grooming the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
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John F Fowler MCIM, is an International marketing and business consultant, Motivational/Empowerment speaker and Author. He is currently the founder and president of Trinity Empowerment Center a nongovernmental organization with a vision to empower youths in starting and sustaining small businesses in developing countries. For comments or questions send email to johnffowler@yahoo.com, or johnffowler1@gmail.com.

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