Entrepreneurship

Young entrepreneurs at the lemonade stand

The kitchen was abuzz!

An efficient operation forms, run by three growing cherubs aged eleven, nine and a cheeky seven. I see liquid gold squeezed earnestly from juice-bursting lemons, that critical decision about the right amount of sugar and the weightless dance of pulp in stirred glass pitchers. There’s no time to ponder the resulting sticky mess. 

No. Summer’s lemonade stand needs a chalkboard, words, the right-sized lettering and a price. Animated debate ensues, ice gathered, cups stacked and change prepared. And off into the bright and cheerful daylight they go. Opportunity abounds. The sweet taste of optimism is everywhere.

This is nurtured, shy or bold. The entrepreneurial spirit is exercised not inherent. But it takes a knowing and willing parent. 

Revering action over lethargy is a great start. Climbing trees, chasing squirrels and flying kites is much more the preparation than some unwholesome pixelated entertainment behind closed doors.  Grant permission to explore. The greatest explorers make mistakes. So, granting permission to explore means embracing temporary set-backs as the path towards success. Cultivate brainstorming, that is to say allow ideas to be born. Nothing suffocates the natural vivacity of a child more than a parent who says ‘that won’t work.’ Allow ideas to flourish. Don’t render them stillborn. Ask your children what problems they see people experiencing. Challenge them to solve those problems in practical ways. Teach them the preciousness of time. Show them how to allocate time proportionately for task, and keep them moving along. Wandering procrastination is the enemy of results and action. So, you might then offer projects. Give your children space to assume responsibility for a creation from start to finish. Let them experience the satisfaction of creation and responsibility. Allow them to learn on their own, success or failure. Teach your children how to assess performance. Take them to a restaurant. Ask them what they think of the service and whether they’d hire that person to work in their restaurant. And finally, teach the art of selling. Pitching ideas, anticipating and overcoming objections, as well as closing deals are life skills for jobs and marriage as much as products and services. Let them experience rejection, the need for perseverance and victory. 

The UPS driver stopped for the best lemonade in the neighbourhood. And so my children earned their first Fortune 500 customer! But for the price of some lemons and sugar, and a little guidance, these youngsters gained far more than their $21 return from kind neighbours. 

What life disciplines will you teach your children?

   
 
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