From Lemonade Stands to Miniature Empires: Top Tips for Your Budding Entrepreneur
By Banjo Robinson’s Founder & CEO, Kate Boyle
Did you ever set up a lemonade stand as a child (or how about a psychiatry booth like Lucy from the Peanuts cartoons)? I can report from the front line that kid-run businesses are springing up all over our doorsteps and playgrounds as we speak, with pint-sized entrepreneurs using their summer holidays to start working on their business empires.
When I walk past them, I think about the childhood joy of setting up a shop to sell little homemade books. I felt like a professional stationer – with my stapled-together bundles of decorated scrap paper, diligently scavenged from my dad’s office.
Fast forward a few decades and I still love creating products, solving problems and finding out what customers like. My company has evolved from those pretty pieces of paper (but only a bit).
Whether it’s down to motivation for extra pocket money, from watching their grown-ups at work or just because of their inbuilt go-getting spark – some kids really mean business.
I came across this article recently which is celebrating young entrepreneurs and offering advice to parents on how to teach the kids the skills they need to set up shop.
There are some great ideas in there though my take is to start simple. Whether your little one is selling bracelets, washing cars or setting up a garage arcade, here are the ingredients that I think they’ll need to succeed.
At the heart of Banjo Robinson are my passions: children’s stories, letters and learning about the world. In the early days, I had to keep these at the forefront of my mind to help me navigate choppy waters, and I still showcase them with pride when seeking like-minded people to get on board with the business.
Encouraging your little one to do something that they adore is the best advice I can give. Focussing on what you love makes you more likely to do it well, to stick with it and to get other people to be enthusiastic about it too.
A CEO friend once said to me that starting a business is rarely a choice – very often it’s more of a compulsion born from an idea that just won’t go away.
Ask your kid what really gets them excited and start there, then everything else will follow.
Second only to passion comes PRODUCT! Ask your kid to think about all the things that make what they’re doing special and then they can find cool ways to shout about it!
They can have great fun inventing a logo for their brand, making up adverts and even road-testing on friends and family for market-research!
After that it’s about working on the best way to get their product out into the world and making sure that it’s sustainable and doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment. There’s lots to think about but with the right product, they’ll fly.
Things go wrong. All sorts of things. A cake stand’s success is thwarted by a competing popcorn seller; there’s no foot-fall in the park because of rain; the dog has chewed up your best poster. However big or small your business, you have to keep going – even when people tell you things won’t work, or obstacles bring you down.
Learning how to persevere and stay true to your mission is essential. Give your kids heaps of encouragement with their ideas but also stand back a bit and let them try to work out how to solve problems – after all, some of the most creative solutions can emerge from challenges!
A fellow founder once said to me that some of the essential qualities you need to start your own business are enthusiasm, resilience and energy – all things that many kids have in spades. So why not grab some change and go and support your nearest mini CEO. They’ll be running things in no time, after all.