When we look at the most successful entrepreneurs, there’s a wide diversity of schooling, backgrounds, and upbringings among them. However, there are some common traits and skills that many of these successful entrepreneurs have demonstrated or developed prior to their success.
The remaining question is: how can we help foster these skills and characteristics in our own kids and help prepare them to become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs? In many cases, economic, social, and psychological factors can shape or contribute to the development of these traits or skills in young future entrepreneurs, so it’s important to consider the environment and factors in your child’s upbringing if you’re hoping to prepare them for an entrepreneurial path.
Here at Beta Bowl, we’re all about inspiring teens to chase their dreams. But is there anything standing in your child’s way?
Economic factors can play an interesting and formative role in the development of future entrepreneurs. For those who are raised in a more desperate situation, with less access to capital and fewer opportunities to achieve financial success, their desperation could actually urge them to pursue entrepreneurship to seek out a more comfortable life and create their own opportunities. This has been the case with entrepreneurs like Daymond John, who’s talked about how his financial struggles growing up pushed him to be the hustling and hard-working successful entrepreneur that he is.
Access to capital is one factor that can facilitate and accelerate entrepreneurship, as capital is often required for research and development, production or manufacturing, and marketing. This is the reason venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurial incubators, and accelerators are around – to help connect the aspiring entrepreneurs in need of capital with the supportive investors, who have the necessary capital and believe in the ideas they’re funding.
That said, with crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding, and the new developments in technology over the past decade, it’s become a lot easier to start and build a company, even without venture capital funding. In fact, there are affordable and efficient options for getting many products created, which can make the barriers to entry in entrepreneurship a lot lower and allow many more people to pursue this route. These days, you can even start chasing your dreams while you’re still in high school.
The availability and affordability of good labor is another factor that impacts entrepreneurship, as it can be difficult to find qualified employees to work for a new startup. However, like access to capital, this is another factor that is much less problematic these days, largely due to sites like UpWork and Fiverr.
It has become much easier, faster, and cheaper to connect with highly skilled and qualified potential employees from all over the world through these freelancer marketplaces, and no matter where you are located, you can likely find the necessary labor to carry out your idea for a reasonable price.
The one factor that applies as much now as it did decades ago is the market: it’s necessary to find the ideal target market for your idea, service, or product if you have hopes of selling it and making any money. However, while a market for an idea must still exist to ensure its success and profitability, finding and accessing that market has become much easier in recent years, as well.
With all of the social networks out there, digital publications, and online groups and forums, finding and reaching a targeted market has never been easier or cheaper. So, while there must be a large enough target market that is interested in your idea to ensure its profitability, if that market is out there, reaching them should be much easier today than it would have ten years ago.
Social factors can have a significant impact on a person’s likelihood to pursue entrepreneurship or to do so successfully, but they aren’t guaranteed to steer a person in one direction or another. That said, social factors in terms of the family background of entrepreneurship or encouragement from family towards an entrepreneurial path can play a great role in guiding a teen towards an entrepreneurial future.
A family background in entrepreneurship is one of the best and most direct ways to immerse a child in the entrepreneurial mindset and to exemplify the benefits of starting and running one’s own business. For those who have a positive experience with their own family business, they may be more likely to pursue their own ventures in the future, and they may see the entrepreneurial route as more customary and less unconventional or risky.
However, the family background in entrepreneurship isn’t the only way to influence a child towards pursuing their own ventures; education and encouragement is another option. Families who do not have firsthand entrepreneurial experience, but who do introduce their children to entrepreneurship through educational entrepreneurship programs like Beta Bowl can similarly influence their children towards an entrepreneurial path and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed.
Education can play a large role in leading a student down an entrepreneurial or more traditional corporate path. Unfortunately, the formal education system in the U.S. has, for many decades, trained students to prepare for specific occupations, and therefore, produced those with aspirations of becoming corporate employees, rather than entrepreneurs. However, that, too, has changed drastically in the past decade.
As entrepreneurship has become a more popular topic of discussion, it’s also become a greater emphasis of study in business schools and colleges. More universities have included entrepreneurship majors, minors, and entire departments. Nonetheless, if you’re hoping to equip your child for an entrepreneurial future, you would be better served by seeking out an entrepreneurial program that is specifically designed to give them those skills, experience, and resources – this is exactly what Beta Bowl does, and that’s why aspiring teen entrepreneurs enroll.
Though it may seem to have a less direct impact on our kids, the cultural views and value of entrepreneurship do impact the prevalence of an entrepreneurial focus among the youth. The good news here is that our culture in the U.S. has come to highlight and reward entrepreneurship, especially in the past two decades.
From the “dot com boom” to shows like Shark Tank and the rise of unicorn startups (those with over 1 billion dollar valuations) with apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Snapchat to the social media influencer millionaires, we have seen a great rise in entrepreneurship over the past two decades, and we’ve seen the financial reward for those involved.
This increase in the popularity of entrepreneurship has also contributed to its increased focus at universities, and it has become more accepted, applauded, and revered in our society. For this reason, our culture has placed a great value on entrepreneurship, and this is a wonderful factor that can encourage young kids and teens to become future entrepreneurs.
Perhaps the most direct factors impacting a person’s likelihood to become an entrepreneur or at least a successful one, are in fact psychological and may be inherent or instinctual in certain people. While a person’s upbringing can influence their psychological factors like creativity, risk tolerance, drive, and leadership, these can also be personality traits that are deeply rooted in who a person is, regardless of outside factors. Parents can try to instill those traits that would be beneficial, but at the end of the day, people are independent people, and it’s impossible to control which skills and traits they truly master and embrace.
Creativity and Ideas
Having creativity and new ideas obviously play a huge part in a person’s entrepreneurial journey, as entrepreneurship often sparks out of creative innovation. In order to foster creativity in a child or teen, it’s best to encourage them to brainstorm ways to make current products or services better, faster, cheaper, or somehow different.
By encouraging your child to run with their imagination and use it to think up new products, services, or improvements on current ones, you’re helping them exercise their entrepreneurial muscle. This is a great way to put them into an entrepreneurial mindset, and by the time they’re an adolescent or teen, they may be coming up with ideas good enough to turn into real businesses.
Entrepreneurship is often inherently risky, to some degree, and it takes a person with at least a minimal level of risk tolerance to truly stick it out and weather the storm. In order to prepare your child for an entrepreneurial future, you should help them develop their risk tolerance. You can do this by encouraging and rewarding them for taking on new challenges, so they get used to facing new and unfamiliar situations and get over their fear of failure. That said, you can also have conversations with them about business opportunities and discuss the idea of calculated risks. The goal here is to help them develop a mindset of risk tolerance, without adopting a careless attitude of throwing caution to the wind.
Leadership and Inspiring Others
Leadership is one aspect of entrepreneurship that no founder can avoid, as an entrepreneur is in charge of turning an idea into a business. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs become accidental leaders and learn these leadership skills “on the job,” but it’s never too early to prepare.
You can help your child develop their leadership skills by encouraging them to take on roles like project leader in school, team captain in sports, and club president in their after-school clubs. You can also encourage them to pursue independent projects outside of school, in which they are heading up the entire operation and learning real-life leadership skills outside of school-related activities. Here are some other leadership activities high school students can pursue.
Beta Bowl gives students an opportunity to develop these leadership skills outside the classroom in an independent real-world experience, as they build their own business, create a business plan and marketing strategy, and present it to investors.
Tips for Entrepreneurial Success
Here are a few tips to ensure your child’s entrepreneurial success:
1 Embrace their uniqueness
While it is not a terrible idea to go into a similar business as someone else, it is a bad idea to try to do it the same way. Encourage your child to love what makes them unique and bring that special way of thinking and seeing the world to their business.
2 Consider what makes them happy
Help your child to figure out where their passions lie. What makes them happy or inspires them? And how can they use their passions to solve a problem in the world?
3 Find mentors
Look around for business people who are doing what your child wants to do and follow their success. If that person isn’t someone you can know personally, let them follow their new mentor online, read their books, watch videos of them, etc. Have your child identify themselves with this worthy person and do what they’re doing for success.
4 Read, Read, Read
Encourage your child to become a reader if they aren’t already. There is no shortage of books on business knowledge and success. Your child can increase their proficiency in the area of their choosing and develop expertise far beyond their years.
5 Increase their knowledge
This isn’t about formal schooling, but rather about increasing their business knowledge by various methods. Assist them by providing magazines, podcasts, apps, blogs, courses, and any other means you can imagine.
At Beta Bowl, we have virtual and interactive entrepreneurial programs for motivated teens. The program consists of online video lessons, weekly tasks, group calls, and one-on-one calls with a startup mentor.
6 Boost their self-confidence
Help your child to see and value their strengths. Encourage them to believe in their capabilities and that they can be successful in the world and make a positive impact.
7 Become action-takers
Once they have ideas for their business and are gathering information, there will come a time when action is needed. It takes more than dreaming to have business success. Your child will need to become an action-taker.
8 Make a business plan
A written plan is their path to success. Encourage your child to write out the vision they hold for their business. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive), and keep the plan simple with bullet points.
9 Create value
Remind your child along the way that their business is about creating value, not merely products or services. If they keep this in mind as they build, they will build toward customer-centered success.
10 Tell them to ask questions
Business owners need to ask many questions around their business – who, what, why, where, when, and how. Show them how to assess possibilities and threats to their business.
11 Guide them to be patient
Businesses don’t develop overnight. Guide your child to be patient with the growth of their enterprise. There will be ups and downs – think of it as an adventure.
12 Develop a positive outlook
Statistically, most businesses don’t become successful for quite a while, if ever. It won’t be a smooth process, and there are likely to be losses along the way. Try to stay positive throughout and help your child not to be discouraged by the inevitable unpleasant surprises.
It’s clear that many diverse factors play a role in a child’s entrepreneurial development and may influence their likelihood of pursuing an entrepreneurial path. However, it’s also clear that our society, culture, economy, and technology have changed and matured drastically over the past two decades. We’ve come to a point in which entrepreneurship is a lot more accessible to a lot more people, including those of varying socioeconomic statuses, educational backgrounds, and ages, from children to teens to retirees.
Entrepreneurship is the one path that has limitless potential and allows people to create their own success and freedom. If you’re hoping to instill entrepreneurial skills in your child or teen, you have more than enough information and resources at your fingertips. If you’d like to get your child involved in a program guaranteed to do just that and have them build their first business, you can enroll them in Beta Bowl or send in an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org if you think this might be right for your child or teen.