If one looks at some of history’s great minds and entrepreneurs, they were also dyslexic – Richard Branson, disruptive in class – Albert Einstein, drop outs – Steve Jobs, notoriously stubborn or couldn’t work for other people – CNN mogul Ted Turner.
A change in perspective
If a child struggles at school, it doesn’t mean that they’re dumb or don’t have prospects for the future. Instead, and in keeping with Global Entrepreneurship Week, perhaps these children should be raised to be entrepreneurs. Most of today’s great entrepreneurs did not fit the mould and were dissatisfied with the status quo.
So what if we could get children excited about building a business and building wealth from a young age?
What to encourage
- Firstly, the thing to encourage is that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial traits are cool things, not something that is bad or disruptive
- Turn money making and business building into a game. Make it fun and exciting.
- Keep the dreams, passions and visions of children alive and try prevent them being crushed by studying harder or insisting on a tutor in order to get the grades. Find what they’re good at and groom them
- Let them figure out their own processes – entrepreneurs famously find shortcuts and fast-track, i.e. if they can’t do accounting they don’t learn accounting, they hire someone to do it for them
- When a child has an idea on how to get paid for something, help steer them with figuring out supply and demand, how to “buy low, sell high,” get repeat customers and how to negotiate deals: Recurring revenue is the linchpin of sustainable business.
- Don’t focus on failure if the idea doesn’t work out, help them find the lessons in the exercise and learn from them
- Encourage opportunistic behaviour. Allowances teach children the wrong habits: some get an allowance for doing nothing, others get an allowance for doing a job (being an employee). As an exercise, get the kids to walk around the house and see what jobs need to get done. Have them explain to you why the job needs doing, then negotiate until you reach a deal. The more opportunities they find, the more money they can potentially make.
- Finally, teach them the magic of compound interest.
These are the lessons that are often missing in the school context. Children believe that they can do anything and be anything, it’s the job of adults to help them get there using the right approach and giving entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity the status it deserves.