A kid’s first “real” business plan

In my first post, I shared how we came up with the idea for Naturally Grateful. Of how it was born from a desire to educate our daughter, spread gratitude, and create a family business. One where we could equally contribute. So, in that homeschool lesson on entrepreneurship, what I wanted to teach my daughter was how to create a business plan. Nothing fancy, nothing too complex. Just to convey the notion that it’s necessary to clarify your thoughts and to chart a path to success when turning an idea into a business.

Putting pencil to paper for the kid’s first business plan

In my business experience, I’ve created lots of business plans. It hurts to think about it. But the goal in this homeschool class was to focus on what was critical to clarify the idea so that we could turn it into a reality. Plus we had to present this idea to mom, who at this point had no idea, zilch, what we were up to. So we weren’t just writing a plan. We were creating a plan we could sell to an investor. Mom.

A Kid-Size Business Plan

Business plans can be intimidating even for grown-ups. Especially for grown-ups. I certainly didn’t want to instill fear in my daughter of creating something as simple as a business plan. So I create a simple, 10-question form, all on one page. Something she could conceive and articulate in our one-hour reading/writing class. If you have children maybe you’ll want to try this approach to help them act on an idea.

Here are the 10 questions I asked my daughter to answer in the kid’s 1-page business plan:

  1. What will you name your business?
  2. Why you’re inspired by the idea.
  3. What you’ll sell.
  4. How you’ll sell whatever you’ll sell.
  5. Who you expect your target customers to be.
  6. How you’ll market to find attract customers.
  7. Your keys to success.
  8. Estimated start-up costs.
  9. Pricing strategy.
  10. Profit expectations and use of profits.

Straightforward. Simple. And here’s what she came up with.

Now let’s be clear. My daughter had lots of nudging and help in clarifying her ideas from yours truly. Sometimes we see kids on Shark Tank or elsewhere starting these businesses and we’re like, “my kid can’t do that!” No kid can. They all need help. They all need guidance. That’s what we parents are for. So yes, I guided her. But she’s learning the importance of planning, she’s coming up with her own ideas, and, most important, she’s gaining confidence that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. Well, within reason.

Profits and Charity

Creating this business idea offered another wonderful teaching moment. That is, to include compassion and charity in your life plan. That notion dovetailed beautifully with the class on gratitude that preceded the business planning lesson. So my daughter and I talked openly about how we could use profits from this business venture to help others. Of course, we first have to earn profits…that will be a series of ongoing lessons for her. But when we do (entrepreneurs don’t say if…we say when) earn profits, what shall we do with them? We agreed to give as much as we could to a chosen charity.

But, which one? I’ll share how we settled on that in my next post.

 

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