Our race has come a long way. Where once we were a society of hunter-gatherers, we have become an agriculture-based society. That gave way to an industrial society, where machines began to do bigger jobs than men ever could. Where we once had a barter-based economy, where my goats were payment enough for your flour, we now have a monetary-based economy - you won't get anything without cold, hard cash. As the technological revolution has taken hold, our society has turned even more business-centric. We are now very much service-based; our economy revolves around brokers, financers, investors, managers, accountants - professionals with specialized knowledge about business practices and execution. These are the people who are ear-marked to succeed in our economy, and they are doing just that. Sometimes business savvy is an inherent thing - some children just have a head for it. This is the exception rather than the rule, however. In most cases, children are taught to have business skills, nurtured in an environment where those skills are brought to the forefront and cultivated. Raising them in this type of environment will endow them with the skills to succeed in our economy, no matter what profession they choose. Even an aspiring musician can benefit from a business background. Teaching your kids to be business-oriented is not a hard task if you yourself are business-oriented. On the other hand, it may be somewhat difficult for the labor-oriented father to impart values on his child that are specific to another profession. Getting them started on that road, however, is as easy as the following steps.
- Teach them about money. - Your children should learn about money at an early age. Give them an allowance (link for allowance story), and teach them how to save their money rather than spend it fruitlessly. Impart on them the value of setting a goal (like an expensive toy) and working toward it. Although it's no secret that money will, as the adage goes, "burn a hole in your pocket," you must teach your children to fight the temptation to spend, spend, spend. Making a long-term monetary goal, striving for it is and meeting that goal is one of the most rewarding lessons a child can learn when it comes to finances.
- Demonstrate how education is relevant to the workplace - I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times while your kids do homework: "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" Although it may seem like busy work, almost all of the skills they teach in school have real world applications. Math and algebra impart not only the basic skills of mathematics but also a familiarity with working with numbers - something any business savvy person will definitely need. Science, as well, teaches not only scientific facts about our world but also imparts tools to observe and study it. Regardless, it may be hard to impart on your children how important these skills are, but stay after it. Make sure they get good grades. (link to helping kids with school story)
- Start a lemonade stand - A lemonade stand is the quintessential childhood business. For decades kids have been cutting their business teeth with 25-cent glasses of lemonade on neighborhood street corners. Before your kid gets started, though, have him draw up a proposal for his stand. Encourage him to think outside the box by offering other services or goods other than just lemonade. Have him brainstorm alone for a while and write you a small proposal detailing what he plans to accomplish, how he plans to do it and what he plans to get in return for his work. He will remember this work for the rest of his life, and it will set the stage for how he works through ideas later in life.
- Send them caddying - Lemonade stands are obviously the most recognizable of kids jobs. The second-most obvious...is golf caddying. Whereas running a stand teaches your child how to start and manage a business, caddying teaches your child how to network with businessmen and women, how to take direction graciously and how to interact with people outside of their comfort zones. If the golf course in your area doesn't have a caddying program, start one.
- Sign them up for a business group - Many national organizations specialize in teaching children how to succeed in business environments. These are predominant on the high school and college levels, with groups like Delta Epsilon Chi and the Future Business Leaders of America. Parent educators can also consider bringing programs to the elementary school level. Junior Achievement, a program for teaching children how to compete in a global economy, is currently being practiced in nearly 20,000 schools and has an enrollment of just over 8 million students.