And we shouldn’t be guiding them when they come up with that idea.
I have taught my young entrepreneurs program with the notion that every child can come up with their own unique business idea.
When I say unique I mean I offer zero guidance on what that business idea should be. I don’t make suggestions or limit their imagination when it comes to finding the perfect business idea just for them. I show them where the idea might be hiding and then I step back and let them explore the space of their imagination.
If they want to sell their book I don’t tell them how hard that will be. I don’t share with them the challenges or the obstacles, I just say “great, let’s walk through how you’re going to get that book ready for your sale day”.
What I’m doing is creating a fenced greenfield for a child that likely hasn’t been given that much freedom of choice before.
The type of choice that has potential. A choice that has PURPOSE.
Some might disagree, listing all the ways we empower our children with choice, or the ways they are given choices in their other learning environments. But most of the choices we can think of have either a list to choose from or no meaningful purpose to the child.
I say ‘fenced’ because the exercise isn’t without its own limitations. The boundary is finding a business idea they think will make money at a sale in the near future. This encloses the greenfield tightly but what they do in the field is entirely up to them. It’s a choice that has a directed outcome or goal in mind.
The goal is clearly grasped by each and every child. The goal has a purpose.
They can clearly see the benefit from the exercise and the learning that comes from the effort becomes tangible.
My most recent class had 71 children between the ages 6 and 17. Every child went through my idea generation exercise and had to show up the next week with a marketable business idea they thought they could sell. They had to pitch their idea to the group.
How many lemonade stands do you think were presented? Not one. In fact out of 71 children only two were planning to sell a beverage.
The more astounding discovery was the complete lack of overlap across the entire group.
They are divided into three different age groups so they aren’t even in the same room when we do the exercise. And yet not one business is even remotely like the other.
Why? Because I give them a choice with a purpose and it allows each and every child’s unique mind to shine through.
No two children are alike and their business ideas are just as unique.
Here are just a few of the business ideas that came from the same class:
- popcorn by the bag
- popcorn flavoring shakers
- chocolate covered bacon
- LEGO instructions for example pre-built sets
- Mosquito repellent bracelets
- Tea box
- Handmade wood device charging stand
- Self-published book
- board game
- Make your own chocolate kit
- LEGO sorting unit
- Handmade wooden growth chart
- Essential oil room spray
- All the ingredients for an allergy free healthy muffin you microwave in a mug.
- wooden replacement handle for a coffee pot
- Iced Tea
- Energy drinks
- Hand-lathed wooden pens
- embroidered jean patches