Be a Business Role Model
Do you have any teenagers in your life? Whether you’re a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or friend, do you realize that as an entrepreneur, you’re a role model for these kids?
Entrepreneurial education is growing every year, and today’s college students have more options than ever for learning about running businesses. But teenagers (or even tweens) have fewer choices. You can help them by sharing your advice and insights. In other words, why not teach a teen about starting a business?
Here are four ways you can get involved and encourage teen entrepreneurship:
- Talk to teens you know. Just letting teenagers know that business ownership is a viable option is a great first step. Help the teen figure out what skills and interests of theirs could lead to a business idea—either now, or in the future. Making crafts, designing websites or dog-walking are examples of businesses that teens can start today.
- Hire a teen. Maybe you know a teen who’s skilled at graphic design or tech troubleshooting, but isn’t ready to start a business just yet. Consider hiring him or her part time to help out at your business. The teen gains valuable business skills and you get some help.
- Make introductions. One of the most valuable ways a business owner can help a teen is by introducing him or her to other successful entrepreneurs. Suggest people your teen might want to have “informational interviews” with, and make the introductions. If the teen’s a little shy, bring him or her along next time you have lunch with a friend who could help.
- Mentor a teen. If you’ve got more time to spare, you can start a mentoring relationship where you actually help the teen launch a business. Meet with them on a regular basis to discuss ideas and prod them along in the startup process.
SCORE is all about mentoring, which is why the topic of mentoring teens occurred to me in writing this column. Teens can benefit from mentoring, advice and support—but so can business owners at every stage. If you’re in need of some feedback and guidance, check out the SCORE website to arrange for one-on-one counseling from a SCORE mentor.