Schools provide the essential academic learning that equips kids to achieve a satisfying role in life.  But few schools have the time or resources to teach life skills.  There simply isn’t space in the curriculum and so, although teachers do their best to impart practical advice, it’s often left to parents to help their children to learn how to survive in today’s world.

Homework schedules go a long way to teaching time management, but few children get the opportunity to learn about risk management, entrepreneurship or the level of communication skills that will give them an excellent start in their careers.

These are just a few of the things that will stand them in good stead – so now it’s down to you, their parent to help them.

If you don’t have the type of job where you’ve learned about entrepreneurship, maybe this would be a great project to do as a family.

What is an entrepreneur anyway?

The dictionary says it’s someone who organises, manages and assumes the risks of running a business.  However, most people understand it to mean someone who isn’t afraid to set up a business and work hard to make it successful.

I’m not suggesting that you launch your 13-year-old into business aiming to build a multi-national, but encouraging them to understand how to make a business work can start small.

We’ve all heard of teenagers who have made a million by their mid-teens, but we’re talking about maybe setting up a local car-washing or lawn-mowing service.  If your teen likes working on their computer, maybe find out how to set up a shop on one of the big auction sites or even their own ecommerce site.

The first thing they’ll need to do is to create a plan – how much will setting up their business cost and where will that money come from?

They’ll also need to carry out a risk assessment.  We’re not talking a 25-page document here, but at least they need to think about what could go wrong and what can they do to either avoid it happening or address the problem.

They’ll need to think ahead and consider how much time can they give their business – willingly.  What happens when they go on holiday, it’s exam time or they’re not well?

Whether they’re selling things online or exchanging their time for money working locally, they’ll need to take into account the cost of each sale – the time involved, the cost of materials, etc.

How will they communicate with potential customers, whether that’s through ads in the local shop or by recruiting you to ask friends if they’re interested, or social media posts to let people know what they’re doing?

They’ll need to think about what their customer’s experience will be like too – so they’ll come back for more.

This is where you come in as a parent-consultant and help by sharing your experiences or assisting them in researching what they need to know.

Even if it’s a short-term project for the summer holiday or that will close down when their academic demands require more of their time, it will be an invaluable experience for them.  It could even make the difference between finishing their education with or without a huge debt to pay.

Find out more about Entrepreneurship for teens.