Why We Should Be Teaching Kids How to Create a Business Plan
Richard Branson once said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” Fortunately, through the use of a simple business plan, students can be given the opportunity to learn in such a way.
When I was in middle school and high school I was never given the opportunity to learn about business. I was never pressed by my teachers to learn by doing. Nor was I taught that that falling over was going to be something that was going to happen to me, a lot. I wish I had the opportunity to learn about business, about planning, about failing early. I am sure it would have set me up for experiencing less hardship, and more success.
When our kids graduate from school, they may step directly into the working world and get swept up in all that the working life entails. For the ones that go this route, they will either be working for someone to earn a living or will need to learn to work for themselves. Alternatively, our kids may choose to advance their lives through an additional few years of education by going off to college. For the ones who end up going directly to college, they may not need to be as aware of the business world as their counterparts who enter the labor force; however, there will be many, who while pursuing the route of acquiring a higher education, will still need to find a way to supplement their living costs. Needless to say, this will accomplished by them needing to find a job or by finding a way to make a dollar via creating a business of their own.
Creating a Business Plan of Their Own
In either approach, having a strong sense of what it means to earn money by either working for an employer or working on creating a business of their own, will be of immense value. I am quite sure that students will be taught the fundamentals of what is needed to find a job from the basic education they acquired prior to graduating. My hope is that more educators like you, will see the value in ensuring that students are also being taught some key business principles before they graduate. I am sure you also want for them to have as many options as possible made available to them to make a living, and more options and tools to succeed when they decide to enter into the working world.
I believe that educators are doing a good job of giving students the opportunity to truly learn by doing. I have a hunch though, that more can be done in terms of allowing student to “fall over” more, by creating scenarios where students can fail safely when less is at stake. One of the best ways educators can do this, is by simply teaching having their student practice creating businesses early on, while they are still in school.
The Benefits of Creating a Business Plan
I am confident that if students can be taught how to develop a basic business plan while in school, they will have learned a substantial amount about life in the real world.
Here are some tangible benefits students will learn with just a simple introduction to business by having them create a business plan:
1. Learn about the importance of planning in order to avoid mistakes.
2. Learn about the importance of thinking critically.
3. Learn about the value of thinking outside the box.
4. Learn about the value of money, and additional reasons as to why math is very important.
5. Learn about the value of team work.
The process students get to go through in order to create a business plan is critical in ensuring they understand all that is involved in starting a business. One of the most powerful benefits that students will get from conducting such an exercise, aside from being able to learn how to conduct thorough research, is that they get to think through or try out a business idea without any real risk to themselves or their livelihood. Students practicing business via a business plan won’t have to actually spend money or invest to get the business started.
Having students get practice planning their own business as a project in school, is a great way for them to actually learn about business and the real world, safely. Through such an experience, students will gain valuable experience and be that much more prepared for the day they go into business or work in a business.
Some Simple Business Plans for Kids
Here are a few simple business plans for kids that I came across that you could use to get your kids started early. I can’t say that they are all “classroom-ready” business plan resources, but they will help you get moving in the right direction if you choose to teach your students more about business and how to create a business plan.
1. ThinkTank SharkTank (Grades 2nd – 5th)
2. TeachingKidsBusiness.com (Grades 4th – 9th)
3. Mission High School Business Plan (Grades 9th – 12th)
After doing some research, I noticed there really wasn’t too many “classroom ready” business plans for kids available, so I created one. If you’re interested, you can get it for practically nothing, and it is for Grades 4th – 9th . I also have a free entrepreneurship starter-kit that teachers can get for free in our subscriber-only teacher tool kit. At the moment, it doesn’t include a business plan, but it does provide some great business generating concepts that kids will learn a lot from.
Thanks for all you do to ensure our youth is getting up-to-speed for a future of success and prosperity