It seems strange to think about lessons in business from an 8 year old. But my daughter is 8 (nearly nine), and she is already something of a ‘serial entrepreneur’. At the last count, she has founded something like 6 or 7 businesses from the school playground over the last year and a bit. There was the ‘Cotton Co-op’, where they harvested the cotton wool-like seeds from trees and ‘spun’ them into thread. Then there was a jewellery business. A ‘tattoo’ business. Even a ‘Relaxation Station’. She recruited staff and trained them. Her sales team were carefully selected and sent out to bring in the business. Pricing strategies were established (leaves and sticks rather than money, but still).
On our daily walks to school, she would ask me about how to handle particular problems they were having. How to motivate her staff. Whether or not she was charging too much, or not enough. It was clear that she recognised my own position as an entrepreneur, and wanted to learn from me. But as time and our discussions went on, I realised that I had a lot to learn from her too.
Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons.Bryan McGill
5 lessons in business from an 8 year old
So what was it that I learned from my young entrepreneur? Well, it turned out that she had a lot to teach me, whether she realised it or not! Here are five of the biggest and best lessons in business that she unwittingly passed on to me:
1. You get knocked down – you get back up again
As I mention above, my daughter launched multiple businesses over the past 13/14 months or so. When people lost interest in one, she wouldn’t wallow or feel sorry for herself. She didn’t dwell or feel any sort of ‘failure’. She simply got knocked down – and got straight back up again. And very quickly moved on to the next opportunity.
2. Passion for what you do is infectious
Whenever my daughter talks about one of her businesses, she lights up. She’s proud of what she does, and loves to tell people about it. And it really is impossible not to buy in to her enthusiasm. People buy from people, after all – and she is the best kind of ambassador for her empire!
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
My daughter has had a couple of stumbles (and by that, I mean particularly big lessons!) on her entrepreneurial journey so far. One was that you can’t improve performance by banning your staff from having breaks (!!) and the second was around how to balance production and her sales pipeline. But the point was in both of these cases, that she came to someone with more experience to solve her problem. She wasn’t afraid to ask for help.
4. A ‘can do’ attitude
Nothing – and I mean nothing – was going to stand in my daughter’s way when it comes to her businesses. Customer interest dwindling? She would change up her messaging. Staff not performing to her standards – she’d provide support (or sack them!). People not paying enough? She’d stick to her guns until they understood the value of what she was offering. She was absolutely convinced that every problem had a solution, and that everything was possible. Something that we can definitely all learn from.
5. Seize every opportunity
When it comes to lessons in business, this last one is a big one, but a simple one. Each one of my daughter’s businesses was created out of an opportunity that she spotted. The jewellery business came as a result of an interesting-looking pile of sticks and leaves found in the playground. The Relaxation Station was set up in an unused section of the exercise equipment. The Cotton Co-op was created when the ‘cotton’ was spotted on the trees, using knowledge gained from studying the Romans. The lesson here being to keep your eyes open, think outside the box, and seize every opportunity that presents itself.
What does that mean for my own business?
So how do these lessons in business translate into the ‘grown-up’ world? What do they mean for those of us running ‘actual’ businesses? For me, it means that we should all try to think more like our children. To be brave and to seize new ideas and opportunities. To learn, try new things and ask for help when we need it. And most importantly, to believe in ourselves. Because despite the ever-lurking Imposter Syndrome and other similar mind monkeys, we can do it. We can fulfil our potential. And we can build thriving businesses that we love.
And don’t forget – if you need someone in your corner to help you to achieve those business dreams, why not consider joining our business coaching programme? Book a free Discovery Call here and let’s talk about how we can work together.