When it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, innovation and creativity are key. Success combines the importance of rules, textbooks, and degrees with critical thinking, exploration and positivity.
Today’s youth have a huge advantage over many adults when it comes to innovation. That is, they have been brought up in the internet age. The younger generation of digital natives has a firm understanding of social networking, blogging, and search engines in addition to having access to an unlimited amount of information. In an increasingly competitive job market, the younger generation has an opportunity to create their own jobs and business ideas. With the right supplemental education approach, your children can be set for success before they even hit their teen years.
We have compiled a list of key concepts and projects for pre-teens to develop strong entrepreneurial traits:
Financial literacy is something everyone should master.
Teaching youth how to manage money at a young age will build a strong foundation of lifelong financial skills. Educating children on making smart investments will not only help to secure a stable future, but will make entrepreneurial endeavors possible. Unfortunately, schools can only teach these principles on a limited basis. Therefore, it takes personal discipline and determination to develop these crucial skills.
Fun Financial Literacy Project: One great idea to get your pre-teens started with financial literacy is to create a savings goal of some kind, with either an expensive item or a trip, and plan ways to achieve and save for that goal.
An entrepreneur can have the best idea in the world, but without being able to reach a customer base, it is almost useless. Teaching youngsters how to be creative in business ventures is one of the best ways to ensure success.
Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive business landscape, the ability to think outside of the box to achieve goals is becoming more and more valuable. Creativity is an extremely important skill to teach and while there are thousands of resources on the web to help encourage creativity, entrepreneurial creativity is often harder to grasp.
Fun Creativity Project: One great idea to get your pre-teens thinking creatively is to take a regular ‘kid-friendly’ project such as a lemonade stand, and brainstorm ways to make it more exciting. Write down ideas and test them with your children. You will spend quality time with your children and have a blast at the same time!
One of the core values of entrepreneurship is independence.
An independent mindset will inspire youngsters to depend on themselves. This leads to increased self-confidence and will produce well-rounded individuals and strong leaders. For example, if a child wants something new, teaching them how to come up with ways to afford it will get the creative juices flowing. Embedding this type of thought process in their youth will build a strong, resourceful, and entrepreneurial mind.
Fun Independence Project: Independent playtime. This is a common parenting technique, but you can gear it towards innovation by giving your child a task to complete, such as a drawing a certain picture or coming up with a fun story. This way he or she has structure to their playtime and must work towards achieving a goal by themselves. Furthermore, there are fantastic resources all around the web to help teach independence. Check out this article for a list of 8 tips.
Going hand-in-hand with independence, entrepreneurship requires fantastic leadership skills.
Entrepreneurship embraces the ability to think outside the box to find creative solutions. Being a good leader is all about being an effective problem solver. Building a strong leadership foundation will develop valuable character traits that will result in more opportunities, confidence, and ultimately, more income.
Fun Project: Follow the leader. During a playdate, have a period of time where your child has to mimic the actions of their friends and then switch. Remember that a great leader can listen and follow just as well as he or she leads.
The ability to work as a team is crucial for success in almost every professional field.
Teaching youngsters how to critically engage with others to build on ideas and strategies is essential in entrepreneurship. In addition to being a strong leader, it is very important to be open minded and know how to distribute roles based on certain skillsets. This skill is valuable in both personal and professional relationships.
Clubs and athletics are a great way to build a foundation in the value of teamwork at a young age.
Fun Teamwork Project: Team story and coloring. During a playdate, have a game where each child takes a turn drawing part of a story. Practice taking turns drawing on a single piece of paper to create a masterpiece together. Alternatively, there are great team-building resources all across the web for you to leverage.
The ability to be an effective communicator is perhaps the most important ingredient in being successful.
The general consensus about today’s youth is they are terrible at face-to-face communication. Due to technology making text messaging and social media more accessible and convenient, the core values of communication are often left behind.
To be a successful entrepreneur, it is very important to educate youngsters on how to be good talkers and listeners in addition to well-rounded text based communicators. Teaching kids to be confident and effective talkers will help build self-confidence to be better leaders.
In addition, practicing correct grammar when writing will make them able convey more powerful messages. A good idea is often useless if it cannot be properly communicated.
Fun Communication Project: Non-verbal communication night. Have a family night full of games with one rule: Everyone has to communicate without words. Use coloring, writing, acting, and other forms of communication to enjoy the evening and practice valuable communication and emotional intelligence skills.
In the internet age, the need for innovation and creativity is at an all-time high. The young generation of digital natives has all the tools to succeed in business. It is important that successful character traits are learned and valued at a young age. Use these tips and projects to help point your children in the right direction, improve home learning, and harness their entrepreneurial abilities to shape their future.
Evan Harris is the Founder and Owner of San Diego based SD Equity Partners. As a father and successful small business owner, Evan sees the importance of an entrepreneurial skill-set on a daily basis.