Legions of bloggers and business writers have made the concept of business ever more complicated and obtuse (with many of them using words like "obtuse"). But at it's heart it's a very basic value exchange between people. Can you explain what you do to a small child in a way that the'd really grok? Straining all the unnecessary junk out of the narrative may even make it more likely you'd get valuable help and more customers.
I picked up my youngest child late from daycare everyday for week when she was just four years old. On Friday, after I paid the fine for my behavior and on our way to car, she looked up and said, "daddy, you're losing your 'tegrity. She couldn't pronounce the word properly but knew precisely how to nail me to the wall with the concept. Later that year my eldest said, "usually I'm introspective, but today I feel like talking." Children are vastly more intelligent and have more capacity to learn than they might appear at a young age. I don't think mine are peculiar in that regard. I became more willing to talk about complex things with them and they usually followed.
My children often accompanied me to breakfast meetings before school. I'd have a coaching session with a client or a presentation with a prospect while they did their homework at an adjacent table. After school we'd sometimes stop at a bank machine to deposit a client check. Over the years, they learned the ebb and flows of the business, even learning to time their requests for treats when they knew I'd made a deposit and holding off if it'd been a while: "are you feeling abundant?"
Business at it's heart it's a very basic value exchange between people.
Eventually, through a series of drives to and from breakfast and the bank, we'd worked out the basics of what a service business is. Here's the nine point business plan:
1. Get good at doing something you enjoy and have a natural talent for.
2. Find a group of people you like and are interested in.
3. Study them until you understand what they get stressed about.
4. Figure out how how to solve their problem.
5. Take them to breakfast and make a pitch.
6. Send an invoice and get a check.
7. Do what you said you were going to do.
8. Deposit the check when you know they're happy.
9. Take some of the cash out and go for ice cream.
Children naturally emulate their parents.
When I was in design school taking business courses before they were born, I took a course on the history of entrepreneurship and the instructor said that a kid had a +90% chance of becoming an entrepreneur if one of their parents were. I'm divorced from their mother who also ran her own business. It seems inevitable they will start something at some point–it's not only in their blood but the sweat and tears of the people who raised them.
Please share this post with entrepreneurs with young kids. I think it's super cute.
*a reference to Denzel Washington's character in the movie Philadelphia.