There are plenty of opportunities out there for kids to earn a buck or two. Depending on their age, the opportunities just grow as their skills and maturity grows. The key is to put together a plan of action and then do it! Below is a simple guide to help them get started in preparing for their profitable venture:
Business Description Decide what kind of business you wish to start. Think about the types of things you help out with around the house. Many others in your neighborhood might have similar needs. Describe it making sure to include a name for the business, what services or products will be offered and where it will be offered.
Name: Shiney Cars-R-Us
Service: Personal car wash (weekly)
Location: My neighborhood
Goals Write down the goals for the business. Think about things like how much money you’d like to make, and what you’d like to learn from the business.
Goal: Earn $1000 for new game system and to put towards college savings
Market Research It’s important to understand your prospective customers and what needs of theirs are you meeting, how much you’re going to charge, who your competition is, and why customers should choose your product or service over the competition.
- Market: People with cars (30 in my neighborhood)
- Price: $7.00 for weekly wash
- Needs: Clean cars without the need to drive to a car wash
- Competition: Waxes car wash and other local car washes. Other kids providing car washes for school activities.
- Reason to choose my service: Personalized service right at their home, flexibility
Marketing/Sales Coming up with the business idea is definitely the most fun part, but getting paying customers is the most important. Getting the word out about your business and following up with potential customers is going to determine whether you business will succeed or not. Persistence is key!
- Initial Marketing (creating awareness): Develop fliers and place in mailboxes
- Follow up sales: Following week, go door to door and talk with potential customers about my service and reasons why they should go with me.
Funding Do you have all the tools you’ll need to do the job? For the car wash you'll need sponges, towels, a bucket and soap. If you don’t have these than you’ll have to purchase them.
Training Not a lot of training is needed to wash cars. But if you were thinking about starting a web design business and you didn’t have the necessary computer programming skills, you’d either have to learn or go back to washing cars. There are a number of resources (family, friends, library books, internet) that you can tap into to learn what you need to know.
Employees Do you need your brother or sister’s help to ensure you get to all of your customer's houses or can you handle it on your own? If you need help, how much are you going to pay for it?
Safety It’s important to make sure you understand the risks involved with your business. Talk to your parents and get their help as you go through the process of developing your business and thinking through all the potential risks and how you’ll deal with them.
The internet offers a plethora of resources to help kids plan their business ventures. Here are just a few:
Even the old standby lemonade stand can be a great experience in business development for your kids. Talk it up, respect the ideas your children come up with, and support them in their ventures. It will come back to you many times over when your kids sprout ideas and develop them with confidence in every area of their life.