Over the past 30 years, entrepreneurship has been in a steady decline in the USA, which means fewer individuals solving problems, creating value for our communities, and using their God-given creativity.
Are there steps we could take to reverse this slow decline?
Recently, my 9-year old son Keith and I wrote a book which attempts to equip parents and children to begin to think about entrepreneurship at an early age (check out Watching Seeds Grow: A Guide to Entrepreneurship for Parents and Children).
It’s been a lot of fun – and we hope in some small way it plants seeds of creativity with future entrepreneurs.
Here are three tips on getting your children engaged in entrepreneurship:
Tell your story: To cast a vision of entrepreneurship for your kids, tell them your simple stories. Most of us weren’t child dot.com prodigies – but we all have a story about our first lemonade stand, lawn mowing businesses, and how we ended up where we are now.
If you’re not an entrepreneur, maybe those in your family have been. Did a great-grandfather start a restaurant? Does an aunt have her own beauty salon? Instead of “business” being a vague and confusing topic, it becomes Aunt Judy’s sporting goods store. Or your childhood adventures trying to sell painted rocks as doorstoppers to the neighbors. Suddenly, becoming an entrepreneur is an achievable and exciting goal for your kids.
Take a field trip to a local business. Beyond your personal stories, you are surrounded by entrepreneurs. It could be the owner of a local restaurant franchise, the CEO of a major corporation, or a family-owned grocery store. Invite them to come and talk at your kids’ school, churches, or clubs.
Or schedule a time to visit their business. Most entrepreneurs will be thrilled to share about their business. Just ask!
Start with your kids’ favorite restaurant, toy store, or ice cream shop. They will not only learn that products do not just mysteriously appear on shelves—but that working to create them can be great fun and create value.
Read stories of other kid entrepreneurs: Another practical way to explore entrepreneurship with your children is through online resources that link kids with others modeling entrepreneurship. One such website is http://actonhero.org.
Here, you and your kids can explore the stories of a variety of different kinds of entrepreneurs. Many of these self-starters began when they were young and have valuable lessons to share about their trailblazing into the business world. Read my personal favorite – the Shafer family who created Buddy Bars: http://shaferpower.com/.
We would love to hear your stories! Tell us what you are doing with your family to help prepare for your own entrepreneurial adventures.