What do you wish you knew about business as a kid? Billionaire Mark Cuban, Prep Expert founder Shaan Patel and teen entrepreneur Ian McCue share their complete answers in How Any Kid Can Start a Business. According to an accompanying Kickstarter campaign, they hope to “Make Youth Entrepreneurship Go VIRAL.” To support the cause, the authors are offering inexpensive, signed copies and seeking a crowdsourced children’s business idea for credit in all copies.
How Any Kid Can Start a Business discusses the benefits of youth entrepreneurship, provides a step-by-step process for kids to follow in their early ventures and includes interviews with kid entrepreneurs featured on Shark Tank. Co-author Mark Cuban notes, “The goals are to help the kids organize their thoughts, determine the value proposition for each prospect, define a sales pitch, learn, and iterate and improve on all aspects of their businesses.” Young entrepreneurs who follow these steps will achieve success not only in their early business ventures, but throughout life. Their early business ventures help them to develop tenacity and social skills that will prove greatly beneficial in all fields of work.
Although it is a common belief that business is far afield of the “core subjects” of traditional school focus—and thus not worth taking up precious school hours—Cuban and his co-authors contest this. Preschoolers play store and use toy cash registers before they can read. Children everywhere engage in marathon Monopoly games, buying and selling real estate, performing simple accounting and entering into monopolies. Tweens often earn an allowance for regular chores, with parents encouraging piggy bank saving until they earn enough for a special purchase. And of course, teens today are watching everything from Pawn Stars to The Profit to Shark Tank—they get business, and they want to know more.
Not only do youth want to know more about business, they finally have easy access to the tools they need to get a business underway—tools you didn’t have access to as a kid. Want to purchase some shoelaces to dye at the best possible unit cost? Now you can comparison shop on Amazon. Want to target sales to neighborhoods in a 10-mile zone that have lots of children? Now you can use free, online demographic mapping tools to do just that.
But don’t mistake the substance of the book as being excessively high-tech—it’s not. Cuban considers his early business venture of buying and reselling trash bags as representative of the “roll up your sleeves,” hands-on approach he advises kids to take in their first entrepreneurial ventures. The kids are encouraged to pursue simple, physical products and services such as developing a dog-walking service or assembling duct tape wallets. Then following early successes, or failures, the lessons they’ve learned from the book and put into action will set the stage for future ventures.
Everyone has to start somewhere… how did you get your start in business? Share your story in the comments section of this article! Like any successful undertaking, How Any Kid Can Start a Business will require immense social interaction and sharing in order to make a difference in the world of education, business and, in turn, our global community.
You can preorder your copy of How Any Kid Can Start a Business via KickStarter here.
This article was contributed by Shaan Patel, a 2016 graduate of the Yale School of Management, entrepreneur and Shark Tank contestant.